Betsy DeVos believes a Free Market is Best System for Schools

As she sat before a panel of U.S. Senators to answer questions during her confirmation hearing for U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos made clear that she did not think a traditional public school was the best option for every child.


In her opening remarks during the January of 2017 hearings, DeVos said that hundreds of parents told her that a “one-size-fits-all” model for schools is no longer tenable. She also said parents are aware that “other models exist.” That includes charter schools, magnet schools, faith-based learning institutions and for-profit education models.


For Betsy DeVos, improving what she calls a failing American public school system requires “placing faith in the free market.” It is her conviction that excellent schools that are driven by a profit motive will create and maintain the highest standards or be driven out by others who can do better.


She added that a government-funded public school system has no incentive to instigate improvement or maintain standards because they know they’ll get government cash no matter what the result.


It’s these views that have made Betsy DeVos a lightning rod for critics on the left for decades. She has become the bane of teacher’s unions and those who still believe in the efficacy of a free public school system.


Critics point out that Betsy DeVos has never herself taught in, managed or attended a public school. But her supporters consider that a plus, not a drawback. The former Senator from Connecticut and a Democrat, Joe Lieberman, praised DeVos for “not being part of the establishment.”


DeVos was approved for her Cabinet post, of course, largely along a party-line vote. Her tenure as Secretary of Education will now be evaluated by historians. With the nation’s top education job behind her, DeVos continues to advocate for her vision of American education.


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