Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos sat down with Heritage’s multi-media news outlet, The Daily Signal, for an exclusive interview about the proper role of government in education.

Secretary Devos explained the reality of the failing education system our nation has and what she is doing to correct it.

Watch her interview below:

What is the most important change that our education system needs?

Comments (59)

Jim Young - April 14, 2018

With all due respect, the elephant in the room is the question of how does our country return to the 3 Rs in the modern world of technology along with an emphasis on respect for the founding of our country and our history along with the basic principals of being good people to each other.

Brenda Davis - April 14, 2018

Teaching needs to back to basics and classic style of teaching.

Schools/teachers cannot make up for parents who do not parent and do not show respect for education and encourage their children.

Paula Skidmore - April 14, 2018

I do not understand why people are against this woman. She makes perfect sense to me!
And I couldn’t agree more with her philosophy

John Broad - April 14, 2018

It seems to me that the best way to place responsibility for education at the local level is to eliminate the Dept. of Education at the Federal level.

Frank Paolini - April 14, 2018

Brava! Wel gezegd! I quite agree!
The ones closest to a problem are best fit to solve it: local control, minimal federal role.
I can see the the federal government setting standards, however; but these should not be mandated.
“That government is best which governs least.”

Frankie Anderson - April 14, 2018

Restoring to the classrooms: the 1828 Noah Webster American Dictionary of the English Language; Prayer; reading the Bible or teaching same; teaching Phonics, real history and the great literature.

Stephen Purdy - April 14, 2018

The most important change our education system needs is an audit of the educational curriculum at all levels to ensure courses are value added rather than ideologically biased and encouraging activism for ideological purposes rather than educational in ways that complement our society and country rather than undermine it. Teachers need to be held to truthful teaching rather than politically biased instruction. Evaluate course content as well as method or style of instruction.

David Dominique - April 14, 2018

Great interview ! Thank you

Peter - April 14, 2018

Get the Federal Government out of local education!

John Engelhart - April 14, 2018

I doubt if anyone could handle the job as well as Betsey DeVoss. Our Constitution does not give the federals permission to have any management over education of the country. It would be better for a Think tank head this up with no federal bribing money involved.

Patricia Ball - April 14, 2018

Parental responsibility for discipline and oversight was not addressed but is an important component of this problem

Roger O’Daniel - April 14, 2018

Repeal common core mandates. See Travis Shirk man for link to my post on Dropbox.

Terry German - April 14, 2018

Like everything else in this country, the government should get out of the education business. Teacher’s unions and tenure should be replaced with merit/performance reviews. Curriculum selection should be moved from the feds to the state and local levels. Parents must have a larger say in their children’s education. And, vocational curriculum should be reconsidered for those who can’t afford to go to college, so they can have an opportunity to become trained with skills for jobs that exist.

I enjoyed learning of Florida’s success in the Daily Signal’s interview with Betsy DeVos, but found it shocking that it was the only state out of fifty to show improved scores on the NAEP.

Historically, the more federal involvement there is (in any program), the more likely it is that the program will be less than successful. Votes and staying elected should not be the criteria for how a program is administered.

Mike Bender - April 14, 2018

We need to get God back into education. We all know what is right and what is wrong but our society does not want to live by God’s Laws. We are a greedy and corrupt society and don’t want to change. Our laws need to be enforced and need capital punishment for capital crime. God gives government the right to use the sword to deal with the sword. This would help people think before they act.

Tab Diehl - April 14, 2018

Stephen P’s comments align with my sentiments about our education system.
Learning is an individual task and our teachers (not the government) need to focus on creating methods to meet each student’s learning needs. We could use more life-skills education and less politically motivated and biased indoctrination.

Jeanne Ruiz - April 14, 2018

Unbiased educators from K-12 and beyond as well as accurate textbooks, not those that have been edited to fit a political narrative. Eliminate policital correctness. It only creates crybabies of every kind. Get parents involved again and get values and principles back into the cirriculum. Teach our whole history, not just what is comfortable.

Timothy Norris - April 14, 2018

So much rhetoric. Why not specifics?
Coming from a state that is ranked 48th in the nation, I can tell you that more money is NT the solution. I was shocked at how little high school graduates around us knew of history, especially New Mexico history (in this case pertinent to their jobs). I asked two students what they covered in New Mexico history class. Both students (graduating two years apart) said they mostly watched the Young Indiana Jones videos. With teachers of that low quality for multiple years, no wonder we are 48th. I agree that the responsibility for education need to be pushed down to the state level. The federal government really has no constitutional business in education. Another major improvement would come from the involvement of adults and parents in the education system instead of using schools as a babysitting service. The best educational results occur when parents are involved in what their children are learning. The critical role of parental involvement in a child’s education has been examined in countless studies and reports whose research overwhelmingly supports this conclusion. So yes, local control is essential and the parents must assume more than financial responsibility for their children’s education.

Bob Hall - April 14, 2018

I believe education will be greatly improved when we get the government out of it. School choice is the best answer. We have given public (government) schools a huge head start, and they should start competing on an equal basis with private schools. Those government schools might still survive if they become competitive for students.

Julia Blair - April 14, 2018

The most important change that we could do for our education system is to completely overhaul it. My mother was a Montessori Executive Administrator and has over 25 years experience so my education was based on Dr. Maria Montessori’s philosophy. I firmly believe we need to incorporate a merit-based education system that incorporates Montessori’s principles to foster and maintain a child’s love of learning.

Margaret Hopper - April 14, 2018

When I became a teacher in the late 50’s I saw the rewards going to articulate, sharp sales-types who came for the increased salaries. Older, non-marketing teachers were later getting increased paychecks. Many were encouraged to retire in favor of the new blood. But tie salaries to proven results. (Yes, fraud abounds and unions will fight this to the death.) But self-marketers are not necessarily the best teachers.
Let parents make critical choices for their children, and stop letting ‘experts’ determine curricula. Drilling students in chosen responses does not insure a thinker or even an average student. All are different and their natural talents lead away from ‘core’ necessities as now legislated. Respect for differences is critical to student response. Get out of their way! LET them learn! Dictators don’t help kids. Challenging teachers do.

Ralph Morrison - April 14, 2018

Get the federal government out of education! Just like federal government representatives are way out of touch with my family’s personal needs, so too are they negligently irresponsible to my kids education.

Connie Sacco - April 14, 2018

Education has become quite a business . Once again it’s all about money. Every school district competes for more tax dollars all to help the children. Millions were spent in The La Joya school district for a golf course , pool, and water park. Isn’t that just a fine education ? Of course this is a poor performing district and the children are just so underserved, right ?

Linda Fogleman - April 14, 2018

We need less federal government involvement.Get rid of common core. Raise teacher pay!

nancy jones - April 14, 2018

I concur with Frank, Bob, and Jean, mostly, and all comments in part;;;;;;;;however, having successfully taught high school for over 40 yrs., I was fortunate to experience good administration for at least half the time;;;;;;;;;not even enough! I believe strongly in the public school, if outstanding teachers are hired and parents can send their kids anywhere within the district;;;;;;;;;it does not take long to find the best schools when they compete! I never taught down, I always taught up, then helped those who needed it on my own time;;;;;;;in time they were able to compete with others. I also believe strongly in separation of church and state;;;;;;;;;parents can give their kids the religious training ;;;;;;;;;;it does not belong in school! As I watched the decline of our public schools and the rise of home-schooling and more private schools, I became very sad;;;;;;;;;I taught far beyond our required courses, because I wantd my students to feel they could compete anywhere with others;;;;;;;;;;;;I agree with DeVoss on most fronts, because some ideas are working;;;;;;;;;and whatever works for our next generations is fine with me;;;;;;;the unfortunate thing is that those of us who are living and teaching in our beautiful state of Calif. are watching money going down the drain to teach those who are not expected to learn as fast as others, and I can tell you that if a teacher has high expectations and helps the student reach them;;;;;;;;;;;;;that is the greatest feeling we can have in ed.! I have way too much to always say on this subject so I will stop;;;;;;;;;;;;;;goddess bless DeVoss as she marches forward and encourages real change, because what most states are doing is not working now!!! thank you;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Robert Veno - April 14, 2018

I agree completely with Ms. DeVoss that we need to return the power and the flexibility back to the local and state level for education. Allow parents to use their tax dollars too send their children to the best school they can. America is falling so far behind the other nations that the end product after our school system will NOT be able to compete on a global level.

Robert Hammons - April 14, 2018

Get the federal government out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

David Zodun - April 14, 2018

You must encourage the state’s to teach right and wrong and mutual respect.

William Coates - April 14, 2018

We should have fewer ‘administrative’ staff, they only get in the way and soak up money that belongs in the instructional category. The educational unions are corrupt, self-centered and politically progressive; they must be eliminated. Post-secondary ‘education’ has become mostly progressive indoctrination and remedial courses – there’s little hope for the universities. Purdy and Ruiz have got it right!

John Yox - April 14, 2018

Back federal government out of education and leave operation of K-12 to state and local governments.

Jean - April 14, 2018

I like what you are saying. I don’t hear anything from the news about what schools are doing to make it better for students. You need to get this information out to parents so they feel like something is being done. I’d like to add…1)Get Common Core out, 2) Hire teachers that are not trying to influence children with their own opinions and agenda, get the school teacher and professor activists out. 3) Get a decent curriculum. This is just the beginning.

Susan McConnell - April 14, 2018

It seems that a couple of generations have been ‘lost’ in the public school system. Maybe we should require that parents attend several classes per school year with their child, or in place of their child. Local is always better. If more parents were taught what their children were learning, it would reinforce the lessons, and encourage them to communicate with each other.

We, also, need to stop the social indoctrination of kids, and prevent ALL ‘educators’ from using their captive audience to preach their ideology and feelings. Taking control back from social media would be a good step.

Bring God and prayer back into the public education sphere, and it will reverse the declines that we have seen since Murray- O’Hare sued to remove them.

Restore Classic literature, Civics and how government works FOR and BY the People, and add back the BASICS of reading, writing, arithmetic, etc. ABOLISH COMMON CORE!!!

Establish respect for elders and each other, endorse respectable dress codes, and it might be amazing what the results could be. You cannot sow onions and expect to reap roses. You will get what you ask for.

william schmidt - April 14, 2018

The Education Union has allowed the folks with tenure to do nothing and collect their paychecks. The budgeting process has been backwards for years (you don’t get more, unless you use everything from last year….even if you need to discard over bought goods). Accountability is about non-existent. Finally, most students aren’t learning real life skills, like how to budget or balance their checkbook.

Richard L. Cure - April 14, 2018

Freedom to go where the parents believe the child should go.

Dave Freitag - April 14, 2018

Nothing against Betsy DeVos, but public education is failing. Lackluster teachers are protected by powerful unions, hence, no accountability.

Timothy R. Buttner - April 14, 2018

Break the Federal stranglehold on education: repeal Mr. Obama’s changes to the student loan system, which only encourage schools to raise tuition while not affecting the value of a college education…

Paul Babcock - April 14, 2018

The survival of a democratic republic requires that the voting cittizens have the critical thinking skills necessary to decipher the issues of the day . A return to teacher’s pay based on meritocracy for unbiased valid student scholarship coupled with strong a curriculum of civics particularly involving the study of the U.S. Constitution and the American Cause, are necessary to halt the not only personally devasting decline of today’s schools but the pervasive in house ,leftist bias of the majority of those teaching and administrating in our schools.

Kimberly Rose - April 14, 2018

Get the federal government out of the education business! End Common Core! Let prayer and the Bible back in school and teach the Constitution, get rid of PC and leftist bias. Pay teachers more, but no tenure.

Kathleen - April 14, 2018

I think about Education everyday…I think its a blemish on Society that we have Illiteracy, still at this time, who are Adults…and they are still, stigmatized for being Illiterate…Shame On us for not following these people…We need some Government in our schools, somewhat that’s a whole different conversation…
Federal Government can set standards…the standards now must change…I really don’t feel that they’re should be school choice…I am proud of the Aurora School System, Ohio, every student is well cared for and the schools are secure… these children learn because the teachers do their Job and they want to Teach…we have hall monitors , we have teachers helpers that help out everyday…basically this is simple the children are smarter at a younger age , they should start school at a younger age…I believe in education 100%…keep the students busy and they don’t have time to get into trouble…I volunteered for Ohio Reads and I loved it…so fulfilling…the rule of thumb still applies today …the Three R’s…History is a must learn…You have to guide children listen to them get rid of PC …learn common sense…some children learn slower as a good teacher you should be aware of this…I believe in technology for children and vocational classes…but most of all Music…the language of the soul!
I also feel Students should have banking in school…all grades!

Ted E Dewald - April 14, 2018

I’d like to see her and this administration remembered for dissolving the Dept of Ed. That would force states to compare their results with other states and eventually move toward reforms that work a la Fla. Education that puts the 3 R’s plus history and citizenship at the forefront of K-12. Money should be allocated per student and put at the parents’ disposal to find a school that works for their kids.

Lee Aritat - April 14, 2018

Our public schools are a failure. Get back to basics or privatize. Eliminate unions. Public education = those that can do… – those that can’t do teach!

Diana - April 14, 2018

California Teachers Unions control the schools. Get rid of all teacher’s unions because they do not care about the students. If the teachers want unions then make them private. Schools belong to the people and more home schooling should be the norm.

Jerry Metcalf - April 14, 2018

No labor unions

Michael L. McAfee - April 14, 2018

Lots of positive feedback in these comments, with some really good suggestions included, among them … restoration of state and local control, the return to the moral values advocated in the Ten Commandments, restoration of prayer to the classroom, and a return to older dictionaries that focused on fundamental meaning. However, until the colleges and universities that train our teachers are reformed in the same way and to the same degree, and are made accountable to teach “marketable” skills, there will be little hope of improving our elementary and secondary schools. In addition, teacher certification has become a joke because the moral component of the certification process has been undermined: certificates are now granted without consideration and verification of the applicant’s moral standards.

Finally, we would do well to acknowledge that the public school system in our nation is Christian in origin, having been started in and by churches and only later taken over in the latter part of the nineteenth century in a quiet coup by adherents of leftist/statist philosophy.

JOE LAROCCA - April 14, 2018


Spencer Francis - April 14, 2018

Student Discipline, Respect, Accountability, Responsibility for own actions, Ethics.

Patti Crowson - April 14, 2018

I agree with Joe Larocca. I am 86 and have seen the results of making kids obey the rules, respect
authority etc. and it was good. Today kids are
In control with this insane political corecction
I believe in dress codes , homework, study hall
time in school, school breaks thru out the day and discipline and consequences.
I grew up on Long Island and our schools
were great and so was the graduation rate
We had shop, home economics, and secretarial
courses not everyone wants to go to college but
Hopefully everyone wants to be equipped
To take care of them selves

Pieter deGroot - April 14, 2018

Where has our two party system gone too?
Have we lost our bearings?
Has our juristals chosen the highroad
instead of the highway?
Do chosen public servers now publish
books to explain theyr actions

Randall Carney - April 15, 2018

Re-institute required course in REAL [accurate] American history without all the ideology. Eliminate “safe zones” for the “snowflakes”. Kids need to learn how to deal positively with stressful situations so they will be better equipped to deal with it as adults.

Mike Marquis - April 15, 2018

Good teachers are leaving the profession due to the overburden of paperwork that is cya, instead of teaching. To peak student’s curiosity, the excitement of learning, and watch the light of understanding flick on in their eyes – that’s the goal of education and the desires of great teachers. Imagination and creativity has been the foundational strengths of our country’s industry.

Libby Huyck - April 15, 2018

Terminate DOE.

Mrs. Mickey Mathis, Retired Adm - April 15, 2018

moral, ethical, subject matter training if those we trust our children with behind closed classroom doors. it is shame what is going on with teachers in public schools. They no longer teach

Richard Lorenz - April 15, 2018

Pension reform needs to be near the top of the list. Over the years liberal entitlements to state teacher’s union pensions have gotten out of control where education dollars go more towards teacher pensions than to the education of our country’s children. A majority of state’s pensions are so badly underfunded that our property taxes are constantly being raised to a point where the taxes play a major role on where we choose to live. We also need to keep a careful watch on all the spending bills that the swamp pushes through so that federal dollars are not used to help bail out these pensions.

Al Wunsch - April 15, 2018

The Feds can help by providing stats across states as to how the schools are doing and requiring that students are proficient in knowledge of our constitutional republican form of government and the Judeo-Christian principles it is founded upon. Outside of those two – statistics & basic knowledge of our government – there is no reason for the federal government to be involved in education.
I agree with many of comments made above. The damage done by the unions and the influx of teachers with progressive ideological/activist views must be addressed. When a school refuses to host a conservative speaker or sends out K-12 students to protest instead of being in the classroom, learning, something is wrong. When the Bible is not allowed but learning about Islam is, the school is doing a disservice to both the students and our Nation.
However, these issues are best handled at the local level, not at the Federal. School vouchers and other accountability principles need to be implemented. The Pubic School system’s mission is not just to field brilliantly educated students but also to field students that will be good, effective citizens of the community.

Mim Good - April 15, 2018

Trump promised to eradicate the common core curriculum. Our children need a common sense curriculum, that includes the true facts of history. If states could be coerced into accepting the common core curriculum, why could they not also be coerced into accepting the curriculum that made our country great and safe because it taught truth.

Joseph Fleming - April 15, 2018

To change our education system, we need to start with reconsidering how it is funded, the decision makers involved, and the primary beneficiaries.

Elected legislators and executives at all levels of government, who do the spending and government school teachers union members, who receive the majority of the benefits of that spending, have created a mutually beneficial system that fails to include the educational and security needs of the children as determined by the preferences of their parents.

The government school teachers benefit through unsustainable levels of pay and pensions that are threatening to bankrupt most cities and towns across the U.S. Not surprisingly, these unions are among the largest re-election campaign contributors to the aforementioned spenders.

The permanent fix to school funding can be achieved through an additional amendment to the Constitution that the Founders cannot be faulted for being unable to foresee a need: “All funds collected by any branch or level of government for the basic education of the People’s children, shall flow to the schools chosen by the parents of the children attending those schools.”

When only parents can decide where education spending goes, then and only then will schools that parents want their children to attend sprout like mushrooms, competing in a free and open market for those education dollars and parents’ approval without corrupt government interference.

Jim - April 15, 2018

I think Sec. DeVos is doing an excellent job.
We need to foster an environment where Health debate and advocacy is fostered in the school system. Teachers need to stay apolitical and actively encourage students’ growth in creative thinking and problem solving with respect shown for the process.
Chidren and young adults need to be taught less about supposed “rights” that appear no where in the Constitution and more about the fact that actions do have consequences. Without that distinction, society cannot become a more civil place.

John Cannon - April 15, 2018

I can’t believe a conservative group like Heritage foundation didn’t ask her what’s being done to rid our public schools of the liberal indoctrination of our kids!

Beth Schlangen - April 16, 2018

I posted a comment early 4/15/18. Is not on site, mentioned problems with education and Biblical approach for positive change. Did you or internet blockers not allow to be posted?

Iris Maurer - April 30, 2018

Cancel the wretched common core, and return education to the state and local levels.

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