Publisher's note: This post, by Bob Luebke, was originally published in the school choice section of Civitas's online edition.
On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos told attendees of the Annual Meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council in Denver, that choice in education is good politics because it's good policy. The former philanthropist and gave a ringing defense of school choice and shared her intention to return more power to the states.
The reason the Founders believed in empowering the states is because states are best equipped to solve the unique problems each of them face. I suspect all of you share that belief. New Hampshire has different challenges than Illinois, Utah or California. Leaders in each state are likely to better understand their own circumstances. They are closest to the issues, thus they are more able to devise solutions that someone perched in Washington DC.
DeVos had strong words for critics who contend choice harms our public school systems.
This isn't about "school systems. This is about individual students, parents and families. Schools are at the service of students, not the other way around. Now let's be clear, providing more educational options isn't against public schools It's actually not against anything. School choice is about recognizing a parents' inherent right to choose what is best for their children. That's the manifestation of expanding human liberty in America.
Devos' themes of reducing government power and empowering parents were music to the ears of conservatives in attendance, many of whom had played key roles in the expansion of school choice programs across the nation and had grown used having no friends in the White House or at the Department of Education.
How school choice will grow and change under an Administration and Education Secretary clearly supportive of such policies is not known, but after the last eight years, it's a refreshing topic to consider.
Access Betsy DeVos' speech here