Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is hosting U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in Nashville Monday.
The visit by DeVos will begin with a roundtable discussion with families, educators, stakeholders and local elected leaders, according to a press release from the Tennessee Department of Education. That roundtable discussion will be closed to the press.
DeVos will end her trip with a visit at 11:50 a.m. CDT to LEAD Cameron, a public charter middle school with a proven turnaround success story. According to school leadership, LEAD Cameron has moved from one of the state’s lowest performing “Priority Schools” to currently ranking in the top 5 percent for academic growth, the DOE’s press release said.
Unlike the roundtable discussion, the LEAD Cameron visit will be open to the press.
Since assuming the post of U.S. secretary of education in February 2017, DeVos has taken on the education bureaucracy and championed local control, as The Tennessee Star has reported.
Natalia Castro, multimedia manager at Americans for Limited Government, wrote last year that DeVos is helping parents and schools get around burdensome federal laws like the the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act, The Star reported.
The Department of Education provided parents and schools with a guide to help them understand how to navigate a child’s education around the ESSA.
In April last year, Mary Clare Amselem, an analyst in education policy at The Heritage Foundation, wrote a review on a controversial interview DeVos gave on “60 Minutes” with Lesley Stahl, The Star reported.
Perhaps one of the most pivotal moments came when she suggested that the United States’ heavy federal investment in education has not yielded any results. Stahl hit back, asserting that school performance has been on the rise.
But the latest government data show otherwise. According to the recently released 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the nation’s “report card,” we now have more evidence that DeVos was correct.
In fact, recent scores show virtually no improvement over 2015 scores. Eighth-grade reading saw a single point improvement over 2015 scores (10 points is considered equivalent to a grade level), while all other categories saw no improvement.
In December, The Star reported that DeVos, with the Trump administration, ended an Obama policy that aimed to reduce racial disparities in student punishments, particularly by discouraging expulsion. The policy was criticized for potentially allowing the Parkland shooting to occur, according to The Daily Caller.
“Our decision to rescind that guidance today makes it clear that discipline is a matter on which classroom teachers and local school leaders deserve and need autonomy,” DeVos said.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.