So How Are Michigan's Public Schools Doing, Anyway?


"The reason Betsy DeVos wanted to be secretary of education was so she could promote school choice, offering parents options other than traditional public schools - where 90 percent of kids go", CBS reported. The awkward, at-times rambling interview covered issues from gun violence to school choice and her proposed Title IX reforms regarding campus sexual assaults.

DeVos' philosophy towards education is all about school choice.

The long-time Republican donor and education reform advocate from Grand Rapids, who for decades has pushed for increased school choice and charter schools in MI, told "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl that "I don't know" if Michigan's public schools are improving.

"Why take away money from that school that's not working to bring them up to a level where they are - that school is working?"

DeVos, however, did not seem concerned by that prospect. "Overall, I can't say overall that they have all gotten better". The real issue is that other countries are outpacing the United States at their rate of improvement.

On its surface, this could nearly come off as insightful. As education secretary, she has pushed for deep cuts in the federal education budget while urging large expenditures on school choice programs. Likewise, weak school infrastructure can lead to weak academic performance.

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Stahl: Have the public schools in MI gotten better?

Lesley Stahl: Now, has that happened in MI? We're in Michigan. This is your home state. However, DeVos thinks those numbers are not necessarily reflective of her strategy.

Stahl then asked DeVos whether she had visited "really bad schools" in an attempt to sort out what sort of help they may need.

"I'm fighting every day for every student, in every school - public and private - to have a world-class education".

This pretty much speaks for itself.

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But what DeVos didn't mention is that the Michigan Radio article she linked to is headlined, "Test scores at Detroit charter schools twice as high as city's public schools, but both are bad".

Asked if the two were the same, DeVos remarked, "I don't know".

The Education Department apparently felt DeVos' remarks called for some clarification.

The billionaire rarely gives interviews and is the only member of the Trump cabinet to be protected by a squad of United States marshals, because she attracts controversy and protests and has received death threats.

"Maybe I should", DeVos said.

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