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Former Education Secretary and Philanthropist Betsy DeVos Celebrates School Choices with New Book

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The Philanthropy Roundtable believes that every American should have the freedom to reach their unique potential and achieve financial security. The Roundtable removes barriers to upward movement, expands opportunities, and supports organizations and initiatives that reward hard work and perseverance.

Last month, former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos published a new book titled No More Hostages: The Fight for Educational Freedom and the Future of America’s Children. Part personal memoir, part education manifesto, the book tells the story of DeVos’ long leadership journey in the education reform movement as a policymaker, advocate, philanthropist, mother and grandmother. increase.

As she explains in the preface, the book’s title comes from a 19th-century quote.thHorace Mann, architect of the century of America’s public education system. Mann once wrote, “Those of us who are engaged in the sacred cause of education are entitled to assume that all parents have taken hostages to our cause.” DeVos explains that the system Mann built was based on the idea that trained educators and bureaucrats, or “institutions,” knew what was best for the children they taught.

In Mann’s time, the goal of the public school system was Standardize Education prepares young people to live in American factories. Fit was important and a one-size-fits-all approach was required. At the time, Mann argued that parents and families needed to turn their backs on professional teachers in teaching students.

Now DeVos claims: personalization education. She meticulously explains the idea of ​​educational freedom. This, she defines, as liberating American students from the monopoly of union-controlled, zip code-determined, and government-run schools. Simply put, it means “allowing families to choose where and how to spend their already allotted educational expenses for their children.” This idea that every parent and family deserves a choice when it comes to her child’s K-12 education is deeply rooted in DeVos’ personal values. she writes

My faith teaches me that all men and women are uniquely created and worthy of love and respect. I have always believed that the way is to treat each other as comrades with inherent values. can live together. Family by family, community by community, school by school, we can find solutions that are right for everyone involved (p.106).

In her book, DeVos also presents welcome optimism about the current and future state of education in post-COVID-19 America, pointing to the wealth of choice for today’s parents. She highlights some exceptional schools that are reimagining the way children learn and unlocking their true potential.

  • Acton Academies is a unique school model with outposts around the world, founded by educator and entrepreneur Jeff Sandefer and his wife Laura Sandefer.
  • Design39Campus is a California-based public school that fosters creativity and innovation.
  • Thales Academy, North Carolina’s classic educational model, rigorous and affordable
  • Cold Spring School is an Indiana magnet school focused on science and the environment.

DeVos also spends chapters revealing many previously unknown details about her work as Secretary of Education, her views on how to reform and improve higher education in the country, and her upbringing. .

DeVos’ book offers not only optimism, but concrete ways to educate families, grounded in the basic dignity and respect of those involved in the education system. Worth a read for the curious.

For more information about Roundtable school selection, please contact Erica Haines.