Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gets federal protection

Many Nebraskans urged Fischer to side with two other Republicans and vote against DeVos ("Southeast students oppose DeVos", Feb. 4).

Her final approval by the U.S. Senate, which required Vice President Pence to cast a historic vote to break a 50-50 tie, shows just how turbulent her nomination process was. Yes, Secretary DeVos attended private schools but one does not have to be educated in a public school to be able to identify why some are not working.

According to studies conducted by Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes, Michigan charter school students, on average, "make larger learning gains in both reading and mathematics" than Michigan students in traditional public schools.

Diverse Education reported that DeVos described community colleges as inclusive, entrepreneurial and nimble. "To imagine someone who herself been privately educated, her children have been privately educated, her grandchildren are now being privately educated".

The day before DeVos' speech, she appeared at the White House alongside her new boss, President Trump, for a listening session with parents and educators.

Pearson recently retired from teaching the fifth grade at Kellogg Elementary School in Goleta, and has been teaching in Goleta for the past 20 years.

For example, DeVos said that Nevada Virtual Academy had a 2015 graduation rate of 100 percent, which was actually only 63 percent, that Ohio Virtual Academy had a graduation rate of 92 percent, which in reality was 53 percent, and that Utah Virtual Academy had a graduation rate of 96 percent, while its graduation rate was actually only 42 percent.

"I believe the voucher system is a awful idea", said Pearson. But at the end of her visit - her first to a public school since taking office - she stood on Jefferson's front steps and pronounced it "awesome".

And yet DeVos responded to a written question about online charter schools with a glossed-over platitude: "High quality virtual charter schools provide valuable options to families, particularly those who live in rural areas where brick-and-mortar schools might not have the capacity to provide the range of courses or other education experiences for students".

By definition, a charter school is still a public school because it is tuition-free. Charter schools can be operated by for- and non-profit companies.

Kaya Henderson is the former District of Columbia's School chancellor. Students and teachers have taken their disappointment to the streets with protests and letters and phone calls to their representatives denouncing Devos, the same way she has denounced us. "Sadly, this restricts her ability to empathize and understand the needs of people of the real world". As they open the floodgates for school choice, they should be closing the spigot to those who give their movement a bad name. Approximately 60 percent of IN children are eligible for vouchers, making the state's single voucher program the largest IN the nation. I can't say that I have a definitive solution to this problem, but I think that imposing term limits on members of Congress would be a strong, positive start. By following the Republican group, she missed the opportunity to show herself as an independent thinker, thus increasing her value in the Senate. If school choice prevails in Texas or nationally without appropriate accountability safeguards, it will only increase educational disparities that already exist.

The panicked rhetoric seems to stem from DeVos' long history of advocacy for charter schools and school vouchers.

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