In a speech last Thursday at the Harvard Kennedy School, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made a powerful defense of school choice:
One of the many pernicious effects of the growth of government is that its people worry less and less about each other, thinking their worries are now in the hands of so-called “experts” in Washington.
There is perhaps no better example than our current education system. Many inside — and outside — government insist a government system is best equipped to educate children. In that fantasy scenario, the state replaces the family, the schoolhouse becomes the home, and the child becomes a constituent.
Not too long ago, the American Federation for Teachers tweeted at me. The union wrote, “Betsy DeVos says public should invest in individual students. NO, we should invest in a system of great public schools for all kids.”
The union bosses made it clear: they care more about a system—one that was created in the 1800s—than they do about students. Their focus is on school buildings instead of school kids. Isn’t education supposed to be all about kids?
Education is an investment in individual students, and that’s why funding and focus should follow the student, not the other way around.
I’ve been on the job now for some time, and I came into office with a core belief: it is the inalienable right and responsibility of parents to choose the learning environment that best meets their child’s unique, individual needs.
I’m even more convinced of that today.