Betsy DeVos: school choice is “a freedom philosophy”

There has been much coverage in the press and social media of the appearance of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in front of the Education Writers Association national conference taking place this week in Baltimore. Many reporters are talking about her remark that she doesn’t particularly like public speaking. She stated:

“I don’t enjoy the publicity that comes with my position. I don’t love being up onstage nor any kind of platform. I am an introvert.”

On the subject of her support of school choice, she articulated her argument as succinctly as I’ve heard anyone make it, as explained by Laura Meckler of the Washington Post:

“She recalled putting her children into a private, religious school in Michigan, and her sadness that so many other children in the area couldn’t attend that school. ‘I realized more and more the unfairness of the situation,’ she said.

Her conclusion was that students stuck with what she called traditional, failing public schools lack freedom.

‘I entered public life to promote policies that empower all families. Notice that I said families — families, not government,’ she said. ‘I trust the American people to live their own lives and to decide their own destinies. It’s a freedom philosophy.'”

This is the same line of reasoning I’ve heard from so many brave and smart individuals. People who have voiced similar opinions include Dr. Howard Fuller, Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Jeanne Allen, Michael Musante, Darcy Olsen, Katherine Bradley, David Boaz, Clint Bolick, Josh Rales, Eva Moskowitz, Donald Hense, Joseph Overton, and Anthony Williams, to name a few. The unfairness of the situation is what drives me to get up between four and five a.m. during the week to write about school choice.

Many people thought it was bold of Ms. DeVos to even show up at this meeting. After all, much of the press share a liberal political philosophy, and they have been attacking her as a person and her work professionally since before she even came into office.

But that’s simply what you do when you see an injustice and you desperately want to see it fixed.

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