As seen throughout the first few weeks after the election of Donald Trump as the new president of the United States, whatever he says or does will be met with a fiery uproar of controversy and backlash. So it comes as no surprise that many political officials have been divided by the president-elect’s decision to appoint Republican activist Betsy DeVos as the new head of the United States Department of Education.
Like Trump, DeVos has been a divisive figure in the political world because of her stance on education. DeVos has been an advocate for private and charter schools, as well as for parents having more freedom to choose the type of school to which they want to send their children. School choice and charter advocates praised Trump for his decision to appoint DeVos, while Democratic activists and public school advocates showed their opposition to the decision. Given that DeVos is leaning more toward one side of the education spectrum, I am not exactly sure if she was the best choice to make changes in the way our country’s education system is run.
In the United States, the vast majority of students attends public schools, while a small minority attends private schools. Most parents send their students to public schools because the costs are lower, there is more diversity in subject choices and the teachers are certified instructors. However, public schools still suffer from issues like large class sizes, and the quality of education is often not as good as that of private schools.
With private schools, the class sizes are smaller, so teachers can focus more on helping every student without being overwhelmed. Private schools also have an overall superior quality of textbooks and supplies, as well as a more challenging curriculum. Students at private schools have the opportunity to receive a superior education compared to students at public schools.
However, private schools are not ideal for parents with mentally disabled students because these schools often do not offer special education classes. Private schools also provide far less diversity in the courses that students can take, limiting what type of education they can attain.
Like any hot-button issue in this country, the debate of public versus private education has benefits and detriments on both sides. Yet I feel that students need public school more than they need private school because public schools are more financially convenient and provide more diversity in the kinds of education afforded to students.
With DeVos being appointed the new head of the Department of Education, I think she needs to consider the fact that public education is more convenient and diverse for the families in this country. If DeVos is to push more for private education during her run as the head of the Department of Education, she should do it with the assurance that she will try fixing some of the issues that come with private education.
Some families do not have the money to get their children into private schools. DeVos can not just go about pushing private education and expecting parents to fork up a boatload of money to get their children in these types of schools. She needs to see that the cost of private education should be cut down to make it affordable for financially struggling families.
I feel that DeVos and her family could use some of the money they have to create programs that would make private education affordable for financially struggling families. DeVos is a wealthy woman, as is her husband, whose family owns the Orlando Magic basketball team. Her father-in-law, Richard DeVos, has been estimated by Forbes to be worth over $5 billion.
I am confident that DeVos, as a wealthy woman from a wealthy family, would face no real losses by giving up some of her immense fortune to ensure that all families can afford the kind of education she wants parents to pursue for their children.
However, I am not sure that DeVos is the best person to relate to the struggles that families from all areas of the economic spectrum face. I would hope that as the head of the Department Of Education, DeVos would see that everybody is different and providing all students in this country with a proper and diverse education is more important than anything.
She cannot create division among the different groups in the education system throughout the U.S. She has to work with everyone to come up with ways to provide students with quality education without having to make it difficult for families to afford it.
Divisiveness needs to give way to leading the nation toward an overall improvement of the quality of education in the United States.