Republicans invite DeVos to North Carolina for advice on expanding school choice

The irony is rich: Leftists angered by President Donald Trump's new secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, are threatening to do what they once considered unthinkable - homeschool their children.

"DeVos' confirmation battle has a major silver lining: The public in public education has never been more visible or more vocal, and it is not going back in the shadows". So what does that mean for MI? Only 10 percent of high school seniors there score as "college ready" when tested on their reading skills, and a 2015 federal review of the worst-performing public schools in MI found the ratio of charters to be "unreasonably high". She was doing an experiment in her chemistry class yesterday afternoon when her cell phone buzzed. DeVos was dismissive of the idea in her hearing: "There's nothing in life that's truly free".

I've introduced legislation to let kids from low-income families use student aid for job training programs and I've introduced legislation with Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia to financially support partnerships between schools and employers.

Regular readers of our NPR Ed blog know that the main K-12 education law was reauthorized past year as the Every Student Succeeds Act, ESSA, which covers annual testing, among other things. And when Senator Maggie Hassan from New Hampshire, whose son has cerebral palsy, grilled her on the Individuals with Disabilities Act, which provides public education services to special-needs students or those with physical disabilities, she seemed to have only a vague idea what kind of law that might be.

Charter school legislation is one of Henderson County Public Schools Superintendent Marganna Stanley's top concerns.

Imani and her mom, along with countless others across MI, spent the past several months protesting DeVos' nomination for U.S. Secretary of Education and we now know they lost that fight.

"And so, we're going to stay engaged, we won't stop", she continued. The group's main focus right now is to stop the state from closing 38 failing schools, 25 of which are in Detroit.

Many of these private schools are faith-based which leads some opponents of vouchers to say the system violates separation of church and state.

"While we support our students expressing their constitutional freedoms, we encourage students to attend school". Also, 80 percent of these charter schools are for-profit, and with a lack of regulation, the state has no ability to close or even improve those that are underperforming (because there are no rules requiring their performance to meet a standard or outlining punishments if such standards aren't met).

DeVos' confirmation went through with a 50-50 split in the Senate, mostly along party lines.

Gary Naeyaert is the group's executive director. He says the legislation fixed that so "schools that were chronically failing to educate kids would have to be replaced or closed". NEA President Lily Eskelsen García said that the union will continue to battle DeVos with the ferocity it summoned during the confirmation battle, saying that recent events marked "only the beginning of the resistance". At one point, she also defended the right of a school in Wyoming to have guns on campus, just in case of "potential grizzlies".

DeVos, whose commitment to underserved students was called into question several times during the confirmation process, also made pointed references to an emphasis on inclusion and a need to serve all students.

  • Marlene Weaver