If DPS Isn’t Reform-y Enough For Betsy DeVos, What The Hell Is?

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Sarah Darville writes for Chalkbeat Colorado:

Earlier this month, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was praising Denver’s efforts to support school choice. Not today.

Speaking at the Brookings Institution Wednesday, she called out Denver as an example of a district that appears to be choice-friendly — but actually lacks sufficient options for families.

A new Brookings report gave the city the top score for school choice, citing the unified application process that allows families to consider charter and district-run schools at the same time.

But DeVos implied that without vouchers to pay for private schools (something Colorado’s state Supreme Court has twice ruled unconstitutional) and a sufficient supply of charter schools, Denver’s application process amounts to an optical illusion.

“The benefits of making choices accessible are canceled out when you don’t have a full menu of options,” she said, pointing to New Orleans as a better example of the choice ecosystem she’d like to see. “Choice without accessibility doesn’t matter. Just like accessibility without choices doesn’t matter. Neither scenario ultimately benefits students.”

As a reform-minded public school district responsible for a large and diverse urban population of students, Denver Public Schools has been on the front lines in the battle over “innovation” and school choice for a number of years. Battles over the district’s school choice programs and reform efforts in struggling DPS schools have made for bitter infighting between nominally allied liberal Democrats, and frequently sparked conflict between the school board and the district’s teachers.

With that said, there should be absolutely no daylight between the factions in Denver Public Schools when it comes to opposing private school vouchers, a question that has already been thoroughly explored by the Douglas County school district to the south of Denver. Colorado’s constitution explicitly prohibits public funding for religious schools, which has been repeatedly upheld by the state supreme court. The Brookings Institution’s report praising DPS for its accommodation of choice for parents shows that the district is doing everything it can be reasonably expected to do under state law.

And if that’s not good enough for Education Secretary Betsy “Amway U” DeVos, that only demonstrates how far she is from the mainstream–not Denver Public Schools.


6 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. vertigo700 says:

    Yes those "wonderful" voucher programs like in New Orleans where students actually did worse after going to the private school. http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2016/02/louisiana_voucher_fall_behind.html

  2. kwtreemamajama55 says:

    Devos will oversee the undermining of rules that have protected kids with disabilities since 1965, if her congressional allies manage to get HB610 passed.

    House Bill 610 would effectively start the school voucher system to be used by children ages 5-17 and starts the defunding process of public schools. Funds could be used by "any private school or home school". 

    The bill would eliminate the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which is the nation's educational law that provides equal opportunity in education. ESSA is a big comprehensive program that covers programs for struggling learners, advanced and gifted kids in AP classes, ESL classes, classes for minorities such as Native Americans, Rural Education, Education for the Homeless, School Safety (Gun-Free schools), Monitoring and Compliance, and Federal Accountability Programs.
    The Bill also abolishes the Nutritional Act of 2012 (No Hungry Kids Act) which provides nutritional standards in school breakfast and lunch.

    Those private religious schools would be raking in Federal dough, while they could still pick and choose which kids they want to serve. Parents could apply for taxpayer funds to home school their children.

    So no special education, no ESL help for kids speaking English as a second language, and no nutritional oversight on what kids are served for lunch. Gee, thanks, Betsy.

    Contact your reps to ask them to vote against HB610.

    Rep. Degette: Contact Me

    Rep. Polis: Contact Jared Polis

    Rep. Tipton: Contact Congressman Tipton

    Rep. Buck: Contact Congressman Buck

    Rep. Lamborn: Contact Congressman Doug Lamborn

    Rep. Coffman:Contact Mike Coffman

    Rep. Perlmutter: Perlmutter Write Your Rep

    • Powerful Pear says:

      “Change Is Hard”: Obama A Year After Election

      • VoyageurVoyageur says:

        In all honesty pp, that is a good thing.  Change should be hard, it should protect people against the rabble rousers, the hitlers the huey longs, the donald trumps.  While donald trump complains about the momentum of an established state, thomas jefferson is laughing his ass off.  

  3. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Up your nose with a rubber hose, betsy.

  4. JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:


    “Choice without accessibility doesn’t matter. Just like accessibility without choices doesn’t matter."

    She'd best be careful — someone might apply those words to health care, and then where would we be?

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