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HomeIllinois NewsThe job of the education secretary isn’t to defend public schools. It’s...

The job of the education secretary isn’t to defend public schools. It’s to help kids learn.



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They think the Secretary of Education works for the teachers. Mark Bauerlein writes: “The more politicians and commentators insist that the first responsibility of the secretary of education is to represent and support public schools, the more we have an example of ‘capture’ in government. Capture takes place when an agency charged with monitoring an industry or profession ends up in the service of it. The agency or official starts to regard the object of evaluation as a constituency that must be supported. When the governor of a state gets too close to the public employee unions around negotiating time, he has stopped representing the people of his state and become a partisan of special interests. He has been captured.

“When the opponents of Betsy DeVos hail public schools as the first beneficiary of the Department of Education, they do the same thing. They forget the civic principle of ‘by the people, for the people.’ […] In the case of the Department of Education, the Cabinet secretary should not be primarily the representative of, or advocate for, public schools and all the people who work in them. His or her constituency is not teachers, superintendents, and the rest of the personnel. It is the students.” More at Vox 

But it turns out that Betsy DeVos probably is the best choice to save public schools. Why? Because competition improves everything. James Agresti writes: “[T]he current public school system is highly stratified by income, and income and education go hand in hand. Hence, the real issue is not stratification but what happens to students who stay in public schools. Contrary to the belief that school choice will harm these students, a mass of evidence shows the opposite.

“At least 21 high-quality studies have been performed on the academic outcomes of students who remain in public schools that are subject to school choice programs. All but one found neutral-to-positive results, and none found negative results. This is consistent with the theory that school choice stimulates competition that induces public schools to improve.” More from The Insider


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