In another piece from those who know her best, Michigan AG Bill Schuette penned an op-ed this AM explaining Betsy DeVos’ strong track record on education issues in their home state and why that makes her the right choice to be the nation’s next Education Secretary:
The Detroit Free-Press
December 11, 2016
President-Elect Donald Trump won on a pledge to “Make America Great Again.” He has selected Michigan’s own Betsy DeVos to be his nominee for director of the U.S. Department of Education because he wants to make public schools great again. The President-Elect has chosen wisely.
For 28 years, DeVos has made it her mission in life to help children — especially disadvantaged children — receive a quality education. Betsy did not need to devote decades of her life to this cause. She did it because it is a labor of love, based on her strong belief that every child deserves a good education, and that education is the key to success in life.
DeVos believes we should advance on all fronts: better quality in traditional public schools and better quality in charter public schools. Different children learn differently, and it makes perfect sense to offer a wide array of options for parents and children to choose from.
You would not know that from reading Stephen Henderson’s column last Sunday. His column criticized the role charter schools (and, by extension DeVos) have played in making sure the children of Detroit have high quality education options.
DeVos believes the measuring stick is to do what is right for each child. She understands we can fix schools at the same time we give children and families choices to find the school that fits their needs. These are not mutually exclusive. Children and parents should be given options, choices and scholarships so they receive the education that is best for them. Empowering students and parents is the first step.
Second, DeVos understands that education needs to modernize. The educational highway should be a pathway to jobs. But even as business is moving at warp speed, too often the educational model looks like a horse and buggy system built on corduroy roads.
American innovation and ingenuity need to be tapped to transform our schools into real centers of learning and excellence.
Importantly, our teachers will benefit from modernization as well. No one doubts that teachers earn their pay every single day. Our schoolteachers deserve an education system that is upgraded and improved.
Third, there needs to be a laser focus on literacy. America has been described as a shining city on a hill, but if you can’t spell opportunity and you cannot read the directions on a map, then you won’t reach the city or the hill. This has to be the fundamental building block for educational reform.
My wife and I, and our two children, are proud graduates of public schools. All the Schuettes have fond memories of Carpenter Street Elementary school in Midland, and have great loyalty to Jefferson Middle School and the Dow High Chargers. Betsy DeVos shares that same love and passion for public education.
She will bring a fresh perspective, a new set of eyes and a reformer’s bent to her new job as Secretary of Education. It’s a daunting task. But it may be the single most important cabinet position in the U.S. government, because it affects the future of our country.
Betsy DeVos is the right person at the right time in history to make this happen, because she will put children first, and make decisions based on what is right for the student. There’s not a moment to lose.
Bill Schuette is Michigan’s attorney general.