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Florida Education Approach a ‘Role Model’ says Devos

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Posted: Friday, September 1, 2017 12:41 pm

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a supporter of voucher programs and charter schools, visited two Tallahassee schools, one a private religious school, the other a charter, for what she called a "learning" experience on Tuesday. Democrats called the visit, which didn't include traditional public schools, a "photo op" and "publicity stunt."

After a tour of Holy Comforter Episcopal School, DeVos highlighted innovations she saw at the school while defending the educational approach of President Donald Trump.

"I think they're examples of what a lot of schools should aspire to be and look for, opportunities to become more innovative," DeVos told reporters. "I think that we need to recognize the fact that far too many schools have been stuck in a mode that is basically approaching things that have been done very similarly to 100 years ago. And the world today is much different."

DeVos also toured Florida State University Schools, a charter school affiliated with the university's College of Education.

“If we can offer what we do to someone at this level, we're proud to do it," Klekamp said.

She was greeted by about a dozen protesters outside the private school.

"Seeing that she's coming to a school that is so specialized for people who are financially able to come to a private school, and not a wider representation of our community at a public school, is definitely not a good representation," said Colleen Towey, an elementary education major at FSU who was among those protesting DeVos' visit.

DeVos, a wealthy Republican donor from Michigan, has long advocated for alternatives to traditional public schools.

Her selection was backed by former Gov. Jeb Bush, a longtime friend who is a leading advocate of vouchers. The American Federation of Teachers opposed the nomination, calling DeVos "the most ideological anti-public education nominee."

Her trip came as the administration has offered a proposed education budget 13% lower than in the current year, a $9.2 billion reduction, while setting aside $1 billion that could be spread to states and school districts that establish school-choice programs. Echoing Trump, DeVos said parents should have opportunities to select children's schools while shrinking the role of the federal government.

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