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A Busy Week
Hey Everyone! Whew. It’s been a busy week.
Let's start with Betsy DeVos' Senate confirmation hearing — all three
hours and change. We finally know a little more about Donald Trump's
pick to be the next education secretary. At the hearing, DeVos faced
questions on a range of issues, from private school vouchers and
charter school oversight to guns in schools.
"The answer is local control and listening to parents, students, and
teachers," Devos said Tuesday.
This came from DeVos' opening remarks, and succinctly captures her
education philosophy: Limit the role of government in America's schools
and trust that the free market — and parent choice — will lead to
innovation and improvement.
The vote on DeVos' confirmation has been pushed back a week to January
31. It's unclear exactly why, except that Sen. Lamar Alexander,
R-Tenn., the committee chairman, said he wanted to give senators time
to review the material released.
Finally, if you haven’t had your fill of politics this week, we took a
look at Obama’s legacy in American schools. After eight years in
office, his list of accomplishments is as long as it is controversial.
President Obama talked early and often about the importance of
high-quality preschool for all. He even proposed a $75 billion plan to
provide universal preschool to the nation's 4-year-olds, but
congressional Republicans balked at his pitch to pay for it: a 94-cent
tax increase on cigarettes.
In 2013 Obama floated a controversial proposal, a federal "rating"
system designed to help students and parents compare colleges based on
cost, financial aid and academic quality. While the rating idea didn't
fly, the administration compromised by creating a "scorecard" that
provides a wealth of data on colleges and costs, leaving students and
parents to make their own comparisons.
Alright, hopefully we’ve gotten you all caught up for those water
cooler conversations on Monday.
-- The NPR Ed Team