States should have choice on schools, DeVos tells Indy crowd

"We need an open system that envelopes choices and embraces the future", said DeVos.

"We have the opportunity to get Washington and the federal bureaucracy out of the way so parents can make the right choice for their kids", said DeVos.

DeVos said the family is using Indiana's choice scholarship to send four of the children to schools that "meet their needs".

Though she didn't offer many policy specifics, DeVos noted that the president hopes to elevate the role of technology, offer a wide number of quality options to every family, and allow parents to play the primary role in determining what school options will work best for their child. It would increase charter school grants by almost 50 percent (up to $500 million), create a new grant program to promote public school choice under the Title I umbrella, and convert a research and innovation program in order to promote vouchers, according to leaked documents reported last week.

About 41,000 Hoosier students participate in the state's voucher program or through tax credit scholarships.

DeVos was addressing the national conference of the American Federation for Children, a pro-school-choice advocacy group that DeVos founded, funded and chaired until stepping down to become Trump's education secretary.

DeVos called our current education system "a closed system that relies on one-size-fits-all solutions". "If politicians in a state block education choice, it means those politicians do not support equal opportunity for all kids", she said. These policies have already failed children and families in MI and now Secretary DeVos wants to implement them nationwide. "States are the best laboratories of our democracy", she said. MI used to be one of the top states in the nation when it came to educational performance. "Instead of working cooperatively to improve our schools, this administration is playing politics with the future of our children." . "More than 90 percent of Hoosier kids attend public schools and they deserve the resources necessary to succeed", said ISTA President Teresa Meredith. About 9,000 Hoosier students go to school under the scholarship program which is used in 17 states. She served as the former chairman for the American Federation for Children prior to her nomination as Secretary of Education.

The Republican-led Michigan Legislature sought to expand the scope of state aid to private schools this year by budgeting $2.5 million to reimburse parochial or other non-public schools for state mandates, including immunization compliance and safety drills. A voucher system gives funding to parents to help offset the cost of private schools.

She insisted that the education-reform movement ought to focus on investing in students as individuals rather than in the buildings and systems that educate them: "It shouldn't matter if learning takes place in a traditional public school, a Catholic school, a charter school, a non-sectarian private school, a Jewish school, a home school, a magnet school, an online school, any customized combination of those schools - or in an educational setting yet to be developed".

  • Zachary Reyes