Betsy DeVos’ controversial nomination to the Secretary of Education position has left many folks on both sides of the aisle wondering where exactly the future of our schools lie. DeVos, a staunch believer in school choice, is hoping to fix the public school system in the United States by forcing schools to compete with each other. Critics were appalled when DeVos “called traditional public schools a ‘dead end,’” leading them to launch a hashtag on social media, #publicschoolproud, to show that public schools are still making an impact on the lives of them and their children.
Equal opportunity weighs heavily in American views of education. Not everyone can grow up to be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, but who gets to be CEO should be determined principally by merit, and not according to skin color, place of birth, or family wealth. Both conservatives and liberals describe education as a driver of equal opportunity. While some may be born into poverty and others born into wealth, a well-rounded education can be the leg up that the poor child needs to compete with the rich kids. The moral case for public education rests on its ability to give everyone a shot to rise to the top.