Last week, at the suggestion of AFT President Randi Weingarten, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visited public-school classrooms in Van Wert, Ohio, a rural community where half the district’s 2,000 students come from low-income families yet 96% graduate from high school—on time. With top-line results like that, you’d expect the Van Wert district would be getting top grades in Ohio’s standardized school assessment system, but you’d be only half-right: A’s for graduation rate and progress in math and reading, but F’s for achievement gaps and K-3 literacy.
So where did Betsy DeVos focus her post-visit remarks? On school choice, of course. Faced with the dearth of charter schools and private schools and vouchers in rural Ohio, she seized on the fact that the parents of nearly 20% of the students in Van Wert city schools choose to send their children to public schools in other districts.
She also promised to lift the burden of government-mandated paperwork that takes time away from teaching. When asked for examples, however, she couldn’t cite any. She must be taking alternative-fact lessons in Washington.