After Demanding Local Control, DeVos Finds That It Limits Her Influence

Mar 10, 2018 by

WASHINGTON — After spending much of her life fighting for state and local control of education, Betsy DeVos last year found herself at the helm of the federal agency that she had long said stands in the way of educational innovation.

But after a year on the job, Ms. DeVos may have learned a hard lesson: local control means she can’t always get what she wants.

Ms. DeVos this week upbraided state education chiefs, telling them that while she was obligated to approve their federally mandated state education plans, she was not happy about the way they have used their freedom under the new federal law that governs elementary and secondary education, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act.

If the states are supposed to be the laboratories of democracy, Ms. DeVos isn’t seeing much experimentation. But she refuses to violate her principles on states’ rights and tell them what to do.

“ESSA was enacted partially in response to the widespread calls from state school chiefs — including many in this room — to give you the flexibility and opportunity to address your state’s unique challenges,” Ms. DeVos said in an address to the Council of Chief State School Officers. “Well, this law gives you that chance. The trouble, I don’t see much evidence that you’ve yet seized it.”

Source: After Demanding Local Control, DeVos Finds That It Limits Her Influence – The New York Times

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