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School Choice Debate Continues
News Bytes 09/16/2020 16 Comments

Millions of American children have started back to school this year . . . online. That detail has many parents frustrated. Now some government leaders want to channel that annoyance into support for school choice policies.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and President Donald Trump have repeatedly touted school choice as the solution to parents’ education woes. If public schools fail to open, they say, parents should get a cut of the district’s federal funding. Then parents could homeschool or send their children to private schools, learning pods, or other options that have arisen during the coronavirus pandemic.

For DeVos, the situation offers a new chance to win support for policies she has spent her career promoting. For decades, she advocated for charter schools and voucher programs in Michigan and elsewhere. As secretary, she helped states expand school choice programs—but has struggled to make headway on federal legislation.

DeVos draws attention to families calling for options beyond their local public schools and emphasizes the struggles of private, religious schools. She has called for a $5 billion federal tax credit to support scholarships that help students attend private schools or take part in other education alternatives.

In July, DeVos issued a rule that sought to shift millions of dollars in federal virus relief from public schools to private schools. Democrats and some Republicans in Congress said that wasn’t the intent of the bill. This month, a federal judge struck it down, saying DeVos overstepped her powers.

DeVos’ critics accuse her of misusing a public health crisis for her own agenda. But she says she’s fighting to give families more options.

“Parents are increasingly demanding it,” DeVos says. “I would argue that it is the ideal time to be talking about this.” She insists in-person instruction should be available to any family that wants it, even during the pandemic. She believes anything short of that fails students and taxpayers.

Whether the pandemic conditions will boost demand for private or charter schools is still to be seen. Sure, families are frustrated with online schooling, but most polls say Americans support caution when returning to schoolrooms.

Many public school leaders dislike DeVos’ renewed calls for school choice. But she says she’s working closely with governors and state education chiefs and has yet to hear a complaint from them. She calls claims that she hasn’t done enough for public schools “hand-wringing” and “excuse-making.”

(A student has his temperature taken before entering the private Catholic Immaculate Conception School on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, in the Bronx borough of New York. AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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Most recent comments

1st Comment

How troublesome. I hope they can figure something out. I am homeschooled, so it does not effect me.

Same. Homeschooled all my

Same. Homeschooled all my life, so I'm not really affected. But I have a few friends in public school, so I hope they figure something out for their benefit.

3rd Comment

I've been homeschooled my entire life and so have all my sibilings. TO ABOVE: I also have a few friends who go to public school.

I think DeVos had a good idea

I think DeVos had a good idea.

this is Mylee

i have never gone to Public school either, I use to do private school but it closed down. I think the learning pods are a good idea. I hope they will figure i t out.

Here the schools are doing it

Here the schools are doing it online and in person so if someone doesn’t want to go they can do it online. I have gone to a private school for like a year. It I have been homeschooled the rest of my life. My town has a homeschool group, but I don’t do the Co op

me too

me too

School choice

The democrats don't want school choice because the only schools they can dictate curriculum for is the public schools. If more kids go to private schools then they won't be able to brainwash them into far-left maniacs like they want to.

London S

They are doing that where I live too but it is kind of dumb because you can choose to only be online but you can't choose to only go in person. I am homeschooled though so it doesn't matter.

i'm homeschooled too. but for

i'm homeschooled too. but for the sake of all public-schoolers i wish they could do in-person(around here they aren't).


I have been homeschooled my entire life. I have cousins who aren't and not being able to see people has been hard for them. I can't decided from the article if DeVos is for homeschoolers or more into taxes and big government. Hopefully it will all be resolved peacefully.


I went to a private school for kindergarten and first grade. After that I have been homeschooled. But yeah I have quite a few friends in public school. I agree with Asher E about what the Democrats want. They just try to corrupt kids minds so that when they grow up, the think left left left. And in my town they have the choice of online or in person. But it must make it hard on the teachers having to do an online class and an in person class!!!!

Riley D

Ugh yes my good friend's mom teaches at a public school and she has to teach 50 STUDENTS ALL ONLINE!!! I feel so bad for her : (


I attended school until 4th grade


I have to a charter school all my life and this year I am starting homeschooling so it doesn't affect me anymore.

I was in school for the whole

I was in school for the whole of Primary school in the UK (don’t know what grades that is for you). So for more than a year I’ve been homeschooled now. Everyone here is back at school. You have to go back.

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