“If school choice effectively functions as a standing critique of public education as well as being a potential solution to problems evident in the current system,” asks Hunter Baker in this week’s Acton Commentary, “how can public school advocates ever approve of an appointee like Betsy DeVos?”
That question leads to others. What is the mission of the Department of Education? And if that mission is defined as advancing public education in the United States in a particular way, then does any elected president have the right to appoint a reformer who may alter the mission or bring a substantially new philosophy of how it might be achieved? Unless we answer those questions in the negative, then we elevate a particular vision of public school education to the level of a substantive right required by the constitution. Worse, we would foreclose any real chance of innovation and reform.