U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos holds panel discussion in Lexington
United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, joined by Governor Matt Bevin, held a roundtable discussion in Lexington on Wednesday, that focused on the issue of school choice.
It is something Secretary DeVos says President Donald Trump is extremely passionate about and campaigned on. Secretary DeVos and Governor Matt Bevin talked through the topic with a panel made up of leaders from various education organizations, community leaders, as well as a current student and her mother.
Governor Bevin explained his belief in opportunity and choice, and his desire to give every student and their family access to whatever opportunity is out there. He says that is a huge factor in achieving the American dream.
Secretary DeVos talked about her current proposal, called Education Freedom Scholarships. It would set up a federal tax credit for donations to the program. She says they are encouraging people to think more broadly about what exactly choice means in education, and how each state needs to identify the needs of their students. Under her proposal, specifics of the program would be set at the state level.
“Whether it is more access to career and technical education opportunities, or dual enrollment opportunities, or transportation to a program that might be out of reach for a student due to geography, and then some of the more traditional opportunities for choices whether parents want to send their child to a faith-based school or a school that specializes in an area of interest to a student. The possibilities are really limitless,” said Secretary DeVos.
There were a few members of Kentucky's Board of Education at the roundtable, however there were not any superintendents or other representatives from public school systems.
Lawmakers did try to pass a scholarship tax credit bill here in Kentucky. That bill saw a lot of opposition. Secretary Devos noted that and told those present to not be discouraged and to keeping fighting.
From Lexington, Governor Bevin and Secretary DeVos are traveling to Marshall County High School. They will present a School Emergency Response to Violence grant as the community continues to recover from last year’s shooting.