Former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Edu Federalism & School Choice

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” guest co-hosts Denisha Allen and Kerry McDonald talk with Betsy DeVos, a former United States Secretary of Education and the author of the book, Hostages No More: The Fight for Education Freedom and the Future of the American Child. She shares how she became one of the country’s foremost proponents of school choice, educational federalism, and bold changes to K-12 education. They discuss her tenure as U.S. Secretary of Education in a politically turbulent D.C., where special interests cling to the status quo. They review efforts to advance federal control over states and school districts, despite the fact that only 10 percent of total education spending comes from D.C. She offers key lessons from her new book and discusses the need to reset the USED’s internal administrative culture toward improving students’ academic achievement. Finally, she shares her vision for the future of American education and how states, schools, and parents could exercise greater authority.

Stories of the Week: Have America’s urban school districts become so large, consolidated, and unwieldy that they can no longer improve student outcomes regardless of the size of their budgets? With Republicans assuming control of the House of Representatives, and the Senate remaining in Democrats’ hands, how will federal education priorities shift?

Guest:

Betsy DeVos is a leader, an innovator, a disruptor, and a champion for freedom. She is the nation’s leading advocate for education freedom for students of all ages, having served as the 11th U.S. Secretary of Education from 2017-2021. For more than three decades, she has been tireless in her pursuit of public policy reforms that get government out of the way and allow all students the freedom, flexibility, resources and support they need to choose where, when, and how they learn. Her advocacy has helped create new educational choices for K-12 students in more than 25 states and the District of Columbia and expanded post-high school education options for students and adult learners alike. Betsy is also an accomplished business leader. She served as Chairman of The Windquest Group, a privately held investment and management firm based in Michigan. She is the former chair of the American Federation for Children, The Philanthropy Roundtable, and the Michigan Republican Party. Betsy is a graduate of Calvin College and is married to entrepreneur, philanthropist and community activist Dick DeVos. Together, they have four children and 10 grandchildren.

The next episode will air on Weds., December 14th, with Magatte Wade, the founder & CEO at Skin Is Skin and an advocate for African dignity and prosperity. Her TED Talk is, “Why it is too hard to start a business in Africa – and how to change it,” and her forthcoming book is, The Heart of the Cheetah.

Tweet of the Week:

News Links

America’s School Districts Are Too Big – WSJ

https://www.wsj.com/articles/americas-school-districts-are-too-big-deconsolidation-democratic-local-control-community-efficiency-tuition-unions-11669818901

How a Divided Congress Will Influence K-12 Education Policy

https://www.edweek.org/policy-politics/how-a-divided-congress-will-influence-k-12-education-policy/2022/12

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Please excuse typos.

[00:00:00] Kerry: Hi everyone. Welcome to the Learning Curve Podcast. I’m Kerry McDonald, senior Education Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education and Senior Policy Fellow at the State Policy Network. And I’m joined today with my co-host, Denisha Allen, who’s a senior fellow at the American Federation for Children and Founder of Black Minds Matter.

[00:00:47] And we are guest co. Today pinch hitting for Gerard and Kara, and we have such an exciting episode where we’re able to interview former Secretary of Education, Betsy [00:01:00] DeVos. So I know I’m really excited for this episode, Danisha not only to be able to co-host with you, but also to talk with Secretary DeVos.

[00:01:08] And I know you had the opportunity to work with Secretary DeVos in the US Department of Education. So this is sort of a reunion for you. I.

[00:01:17] Denisha: Yes, I’m definitely biased. I love Secretary DeVos. She’s an amazing champion for students across the country, but equally just an amazing person. I’m honored to be able to call her friend, and she’s just such a humble individual.

[00:01:33] So I am super excited to be able to take over the Learning Curve podcast and interview her with.

[00:01:39] Kerry: Agreed. And speaking of amazing people, you are one of those amazing people founding Black Minds Matter, which is an advocacy organization for black founders of schools, micro schools, learning pods, homeschool collaboratives, charter schools, and so on.

[00:01:56] You have the first and only national [00:02:00] directory of black owned schools across the country with more than 300 entries. And you also. Support black founders. I wonder if you can talk a little bit about your efforts currently to uh, really provide resources and, encouragement for some of these

[00:02:15] Denisha: founders.

[00:02:16] Absolutely. One of the joys that I get to do in my role is connect with these education entrepreneurs across the country. And Carrie, you are so involved in this space as well, and they are amazing individuals. They have taken on the mantle of , creating learning environments. Students outside the traditional space and they run the gamut, like you mentioned from private to charter to micro schools, to pods, and a beautiful thing.

[00:02:47] We’ve been able to build a network of more than 90 school founders who’ve had two of our touch. Point with our project to support them to build community, which most of these [00:03:00] folks are, they’re on an island, they’re heads down doing the work of creating educational opportunities for our students and to learn about their stories, to hear their perspectives on why they got so deeply involved in the education space.

[00:03:15] It’s a wonderful thing. You can learn more about them. On our website@blackmindsmatter.net and they are encouraging to me. I really love , that work.

[00:03:24] Kerry: Yes, and you and I will be together in person in a few weeks just after the winter holidays in the International School Choice Conference in Fort Lauderdale, where we’re gonna be on a panel talking about education, entrepreneurship, and micro schools and all of these.

[00:03:40] Innovative learning models that are emerging. We’ll have some micro school founders on our panel as well. So that is something to look forward to, to kind of continue this conversation. And it sort of ties in with our first article that we’re gonna talk about today. The one that I picked discuss came out in the Wall Street Journal last week by Andy [00:04:00] Smarick from the Manhattan Institute, and it’s called America’s School.

[00:04:04] Are too big, and he makes this intriguing case for minimizing current school districts. He says they’re so large, which leads to sort of a lack of accountability and transparency. He also mentions that many large districts spend vast sums per student with San Francisco and Atlanta. He says Spending more than 17,000.

[00:04:26] Per student here in Boston, more than $25,000 New York, more than $28,000. And it’s these large districts, especially tied to large cities that can lead to a lot of bloat and bureaucracy. And so his recommendation is to really break up these large school districts into smaller districts. There is much more local control and more accountability from local constituents, which I think is an intriguing idea.

[00:04:52] Of course, I’d be pushing for school choice policies that would enable parents to discover whatever education [00:05:00] option is right for their kids, whether it’s a district school, uh, of. Small or large or if it’s a micro school or learning pot or private school or charter school and so forth. But this is an interesting idea and I think is maybe part of this larger trend, right, towards small, right?

[00:05:15] We talk about micro schools and some of these other low cost private schools and emerging learning models. That value, that kind of personalization with learning and that smaller setting, the nurturing environment, the much more close interactions between students and teachers that we are seeing certainly in the classroom with these emerging models.

[00:05:35] And, and interesting to see sort of that same trend perhaps at the macro level with pushing for school districts to. Condensed or decentralized into smaller school districts. I wonder what your thoughts are Danisha on that article.

[00:05:49] Denisha: Yeah, of course. , , I definitely agree with you that one of the solutions would be to expand funding for parents to make the decision to go to [00:06:00] whichever type of learning environment that fits their kids.

[00:06:03] Best. One of the major determinant factors for families choosing alternative options other than their zone schools is, often class size. And so to hear, different perspectives on how we can best meet students’ needs by, Creating smaller learning environments. I think we should explore all of them.

[00:06:24] So, I, yeah, I actually think it’s really good that we’re talking about alternative types of education models in the traditional space, because most of our students are going to their zone schools. .

[00:06:36] Yeah.

[00:06:37] Kerry: And interesting talking about this at the local level, with school districts perhaps becoming smaller and again, more bottom up, more local control there.

[00:06:47] That’s at the local level. The article you plan to talk about today though, is at the national level, at the federal level, thinking about education policy especially with the new Congress. What do you wanna chat about?

[00:06:59] Denisha: [00:07:00] Yeah. So I wanna chat about a article by Libby Stanford which came out on December 2nd and Education Week about how divided Congress will influence the K12 policies.

[00:07:12] And this next starting January. Third she goes on to talk about in her article how Congress is shifting. So we have a reshifting of who the majority at the federal level in Congress, Democrats maintain control over the Senate and Republicans seek control over the house.

[00:07:32] Virginia Fox is expected to assume leadership over the help committee while Bernie Sanders may potentially take leadership. On the Senate side replacing Senator Patty Murray, the two political parties differ on what they believe, you know, they wanna focus. In education, the Democratic Party, maybe wanting to focus more on early [00:08:00] childhood and free college while the Republican party focusing on career and technical education and apprenticeships.

[00:08:07] So we’ll have a very interesting session One of the, the amazing bills that Secretary DeVos championed for at the federal level was parents’ rights and education with the Federal Tax credit scholarship. We will maybe talk about a little bit about that during our interview with her.

[00:08:27] and just the power of parents. And so maybe we’ll have some of those and during the next session and we’ll see a, new federal. I’m very hopeful to see a, another bill that’s passed that’s focused on parents’ rights in education. But we’ll see.

[00:08:42] Kerry: Yeah. As someone who sort of thinks that we should have a very limited role for the federal government in education I am looking forward to a divided Congress.

[00:08:51] I think that maybe gridlock at the federal level when it comes to education policy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And of course, Most [00:09:00] policy regarding education should be at the state and local level from a constitutional perspective. So it will be interesting to see what comes out and yeah, great to talk with Secretary DeVos about some of this as well, especially her experience leading the US Department of Education.

[00:09:16] So when we come back on the Learning Curve podcast will be with Secretary Betsy Dev. Former United States Secretary of Education, an author of the book Hostages Know More the Fight for Education Freedom and the Future of the American Child.

[00:09:44] Betsy: So,

[00:09:48] so,

[00:09:52] so,[00:10:00]

[00:10:11] Kerry: Welcome back to The Learning Curve Podcast. I’m Carrie McDonald, guest cohost today, along with Danisha Allen from the American Federation for Children and Black Minds Matter, and we are so delighted to have as our guest today, former US Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. Secretary DeVos is the author of the new book, hostages No More, the Fight for Education Freedom and the Future of the American.

[00:10:37] She is a leader, an innovator, a disruptor, and a champion for freedom. She is the nation’s leading advocate for education, freedom for students of all ages, having served as the 11th US Secretary of Education from 2017 to 2021. For more than three decades, she has been a tireless advocate in pursuit of public policy reforms that get [00:11:00] government out of the way and allow all students the freedom, flexibility, resources, and support they need to choose where, when, and how they learn.

[00:11:09] Her advocacy has helped create new educational choices for K to 12 students in more than 25 states in the District of Columbia, and expanded post-high school education options for students and adult learners. Secretary DeVos is also an accomplished business leader. She served as chairman of the Windquest Group, a privately held investment and management firm based in Michigan.

[00:11:33] She is the former chair of the American Federation for Children, the Philanthropy Round table and the Michigan Republican Party. Secretary DeVos is a graduate of Calvin College and is married to entrepreneur, philanthropist, and community activist Dick DeVos. Together they have four children and 10 grandchildren.

[00:11:53] Secretary DeVos, welcome to the Learning Curve

[00:11:55] Betsy: Podcast. Well, thank you so much, Carrie. It’s great to be with you and with you, Denisha. [00:12:00] You

[00:12:01] Denisha: as

[00:12:01] Kerry: well. We are so thrilled to have you here, and I know you and Denisha go way back. You had the opportunity to work together at the US Department of Education. So I’ll let Danisha start us off with our first few questions for you and then I’ll chime in at the end.

[00:12:17] Wonderful.

[00:12:18] Denisha: Yes. Well, yes, it’s so nice to be on with you and to see you again to speak about your book Hostages No More. I definitely enjoyed reading it and always such a fan of just how humble you are, secretary DeVos. So, let’s just hop right on in. you have

[00:12:36] Betsy: amazing, I have to, I have to interrupt you a moment and say, please do call me Betsy.

[00:12:40] I’m no longer secretary. I’m bet.

[00:12:43] Denisha: I can’t, you know, I grew up in Southern Baptist Church and whenever someone gets a title, they maintain that title forever. So, although we’re friends, you’ll still be secretary to boss . but your, background is, very interesting. So your, both of your [00:13:00] parents immigrated to the states children of immigrants from the nether.

[00:13:04] And you settled in Michigan, which Michigan is kind of a, a mini Netherlands. would you share a little bit with our listeners, about your family, your upbringing, your faith, how those experiences shaped your interests and your advocacy for dramatic changes in the K through 12 level.

[00:13:22] Betsy: Absolutely. Well, my grandparents and great grandparents came to this country looking for economic opportunity and for religious freedom. They felt they had neither, and that their country at that time was heading in the wrong direction, and they. Thought America would be the place to come. My parents grew up in that environment and both of them have been great role models to me and to my children.

[00:13:50] My dad died many years ago now, but They still had the benefit of knowing him for a few years as well, my mom is still living, she’ll be [00:14:00] 90 next week, and , she’s carrying on a lot of my dad’s legacy in the entrepreneurial. Spaces in West Michigan.

[00:14:08] And they just modeled modesty, humility, hard work they love God, and they taught us to love God as well. I grew up learning how to, work hard and how to enjoy the leisure time as well, but also they really modeled for us the importance of giving back. and that was something that came almost second nature to me because it was so much a part of our home.

[00:14:36] And so the notion of really volunteering and working hard and giving resources and time to help others was something that was part of my DNA from early on.

[00:14:48] Denisha: Fantastic. I, have a five month old myself and so to, think about. Just those character traits that your parents and grandparents passed on is amazing.

[00:14:58] And as I [00:15:00] raise up my little five month old hope to have him and his family say the same thing one day several decades ago in your native state of Michigan and nationally, you really have established yourself as one of the country’s foremost philanthropists and proponents for bold changes in K through 12.

[00:15:19] From. And religious schools of choice to charter schools to campus free speech. So would you talk a little bit about your experience and lessons learned from the state level in education, policy reform and the legal battles, in Michigan and elsewhere?

[00:15:36] Betsy: Well, sure. My engagement in an interest in education and education policy really began when my oldest son, Rick, was going to start kindergarten.

[00:15:48] He’d been going to a great Montessori preschool that he really thrived in, and I wanted to make sure we found something that was going to be equally interesting and [00:16:00] challenging for him for his k12. Dick and I knew my husband and I knew we were gonna be able to send him and his siblings wherever we thought was going to be best for them because we could afford that.

[00:16:13] When I was looking, I came across a wonderful little school in the heart of Grand Rapids in the city that serves the community right around that. The neighborhoods right around that. It’s called the Potter’s House. It’s a little Christian school that still to this day has to raise 90% of their operating costs from benefactors in the community.

[00:16:37] Rick did not end up going there, but I started getting involved as a volunteer. And the more I volunteered at that school and the more I met the children and families there, the more I realized what a special place this was and how many families who had their kids there. were probably 10 or 20 other families for everyone whose child was [00:17:00] there.

[00:17:00] And so we started supporting the school as in every way we could financially as a volunteer mentor. And then the more I got into it, the more I realized that our policies around education generally don’t support a school like that or , an option like that because it precludes families for making those choices unless they can write the tuition check to do it.

[00:17:26] And so that really led me. Policy advocacy to change the laws in Michigan and I got involved both in Michigan then and nationally because it was really at the front end of this movement around education, freedom and as we called it then school choice. It took me through many different battles.

[00:17:48] Uh, A long iteration, an iterative process of getting involved, but ultimately, it became very clear that we could not just argue and advocate for the policy change. We had to [00:18:00] exercise political muscle along with it. Side, protecting the status quo and precluding families from making these choices and having these options.

[00:18:11] are, and were very formidable headed right at the top by the teachers unions. Who they and their allies really do center everything around their power and control of that system of the method of, education for the vast majority of kids in the country. and so the political give and take had to be a part of the equation too.

[00:18:33] now these many years later we’re seeing a momentum around education freedom like we’ve never seen before, and I owe that in great measure to the laying bear of the failings of the system during the pandemic. And how many families really realized that their children actually have been held hostage to a assist them.

[00:18:54] They have very little control.

[00:18:57] Denisha: Well give yourself some credit because a [00:19:00] lot of that footwork of just on a basic level of educating people about what is possible in education. Started with you during your tenure at the US Department of Education with your campaign of rethinking education. And unfortunately, covid happened.

[00:19:20] But like you said, one of the silver linings of that was folks were able to actually become highly innovative. We had these micro schools pandemic pods that sprouted just creativity from the pandemic. A lot of that work on how to reframe your mindset around education started with, you, and you’re right about that.

[00:19:42] One of my favorite quotes from your book, and a lot of other people’s favorite quotes, is this argument that simply being less advantage suggests that you aren’t capable of making decisions in your best. Interest infuriates me. It pretends to be compassionate when in fact it [00:20:00] is elitist. I refuse to let their false arguments stop me from helping families better their lives for their children.

[00:20:08] 2017 when you became US Secretary of Education, several previous education secretaries, including Bill Bennett, have been critical to DC centric culture and education and trade groups being a significant barrier to K12 reform. Would you discuss with our listeners some of the experiences you had as secretary?

[00:20:32] The highly politically charged environment in the beltway and what it was like leading the federal agency where DC special interest groups are so deeply committed to maintaining the status quo.

[00:20:44] Betsy: Well, as you know, firsthand Danisha it is a formidable battle to try to affect change in a department where it is spring loaded to protect what we know and, what is today.

[00:20:58] , the [00:21:00] alphabet soup allied organizations that really come. Washington to advocate for more money, more strings being attached to schools and local districts. And ultimately more , strings being attached to how families actually can access education. it is a uphill battle but a battle that’s being won, frankly, because states are taking things into their own hands and they are passing.

[00:21:29] Legislation that is giving families different measures of, education, freedom. Arizona being the first state to pass a universal education savings account program so that every child in Arizona can now access a education and learning environment that actually works for him or her. But the Department of Education wasn’t in existence before 1970.

[00:21:55] It was a political payoff by Jimmy Carter to the [00:22:00] teachers Unions for having endorsed him for president in 1976. The first time the teacher unions did that. And actually, I like to refer to them as school unions because I don’t think they really represent teachers very well at all. But the school union has, demanded and extracted uh, with all of the all.

[00:22:20] Way over a trillion dollars since its founding in 1979 with the express goal of closing the achievement gap between those kids performing at the top end of the spectrum and those at the bottom end of the spectrum, unfortunately. And really. Egregiously bad is the fact that not only has that achievement gap not narrowed one little bit, it’s actually widened by almost every measure.

[00:22:50] And so one has to really ask and challenge. Those making decisions around the Department of Education in Washington, Congress in [00:23:00] particular, know, why do we keep appropriating more and more and more money for the ex, the same purpose and , expect a different result than what we’ve had. It really is the definition of insanity.

[00:23:12] and it’s, been so harmful to so many kids who have really fallen through the cracks and whose futures have been compromised because they have not had an opportunity to learn and thrive like many of their counterparts in families that could afford to do something.

[00:23:31] Kerry: Such great questions.

[00:23:34] Denisha, I wanna talk a little bit more now about your book Hostages. No More the Fight for Education, freedom and the Future of the American Child. Hostages No More is a reference to Ho Man talking about parents being hostages to the cause of, at the time. Really centralizing education. Horace man was of course instrumental in Massachusetts in passing the country’s first [00:24:00] compulsory schooling statute in 1852 and was really sort of against a parent’s role in education and parental choice.

[00:24:08] I wonder if you could talk a little bit about why you chose that title and what that passage from Horace Man

[00:24:14] Betsy: meant. Well, it is a direct reference to the quote that he made, and it was that educators are entitled to look upon parents as having given hostages to our cause. And while it may have been laudable and learning may have been the focus at that time.

[00:24:32] I think in particular the last couple of years has really laid bare to families just how many ways their children have been held hostage to a system that for way too many of them simply is not working, did not work. During the last couple of years and opened their eyes to really what has been going on in those schools.

[00:24:54] They had a front row seat, whether it was in their living room or their kitchen when kids were on distance learning had a [00:25:00] front row seat to a curriculum that they may have been appalled by, teaching kids to hate their country and to hate themselves based on, criticisms around discrimination and racism and others who just saw curriculum and learning that simply was not robust in any, had very low or no expectations of.

[00:25:23] And I think families really have awakened to , this fact of how little power and how little influence they’ve really had. When they thought their kids were probably doing just fine, they realized that in many ways they have not. So rightfully so, parents have started to speak up and demand better and demand something different for their kids.

[00:25:42] So this is a real opportunity to really shift the equation. To shift the balance of power from going to the system and to buildings and to adults’ interests right to a child’s interest and talking about sending [00:26:00] resources. I use the metaphor of a backpack. Kids go to school every day with the things they need for that day in school.

[00:26:07] Metaphorically, we need to attach the funds for that child’s education to that child’s backpack. For the family to find the right environment, the right setting for that child to learn best.

[00:26:19] Kerry: So I really loved your book, secretary DeVos, and I think that one of the things that really struck me was looking at the roadblocks that you encountered when you came into the US Department of Education hoping to make some transformational changes and really coming up against this bureaucracy, these unionized career public servant.

[00:26:40] And just this inability in many cases to get things done. I think about the story you told about trying to get books out of the basement and the long process that that took just to simply move some books to get them into classrooms. I wonder if you could talk a little bit more about your experience there, the sort of internal administrative culture at the US Department of [00:27:00] Education, and what do you think could be done to reform or alter its mission toward improving students overall academic.

[00:27:08] Betsy: Well, it was difficult to do even the simplest of things as you referenced, Carrie, the getting books that had been in storage, hundreds if not thousands of books that had been stored for years. Literally just getting those out to be able to distribute them and bring them to kids on school visits.

[00:27:26] Was a herculean task. It should not have been. And it was just emblematic of the many, many ways that we came up against roadblocks. Either process, roadblocks put into place over years and years of bureaucracy layering upon bureaucracy. Or whether it was individuals who really were fighting us at every step of the way.

[00:27:51] Now to be fair, there were some good folks in the career staff at the department with whom we worked very well and were able to get a lot more [00:28:00] done, I think, than most people would have guessed that we were able to. But it was clear that everything in those buildings was oriented.

[00:28:08] Not around children. Not around children at all. And my goal, our goal as a team was to reorient everything that happened there around doing the right thing for what was best for students, what was best for kids. and that was a, a real culture shift. We achieved culture shift in some important areas and important ways.

[00:28:31] But in you know, a four year period of time, you cannot totally turn a ship that is headed in the opposite direction, in the direction that you wanna go. We were able to get a lot of important things done for students. Unfortunately, this current administration is trying to undo almost as many of the good things that we got done.

[00:28:53] Right behind that accomplishment. So what do I think can and should be done? I really think that the Department of [00:29:00] Education should not exist. It only contributes eight or 9% of the overall funding. To K-12 education. And when you think about the oversized influence that that eight or 9% comes with there’s no reason for the Department of Education to exist states and local districts, and most importantly, parents and families should be at the core of the decision making around education.

[00:29:29] There are two important laws, the civil rights laws and two areas of law, civil rights laws, and, I D E A, the support for students with disabilities that have to be administered, but they don’t need a whole federal department to do that. And I think that People have awakened to just how overbearing and oversized and overreaching this federal department is and has been.

[00:29:55] And I just wanna challenge Republican leadership in Congress [00:30:00] while leadership in general in Congress as well as leadership in the executive branch to think anew about whether that depart. Should exist, and if so, under what kind of constraints to put parents and families, and importantly students back at the core of education.

[00:30:21] Kerry: Well, I’m right there with you in advocating for eliminating the US Department of Education uh, agree that education policy is largely a state and local issue, and that’s where it should reside and hopefully continue to expand parental choice at the state level as we’ve already seen over the past few years.

[00:30:38] So, as we begin to wrap up and, and reflect upon your career as a real principled, courageous advocate for a wide variety, School choice options for families and students. I wonder if you could close by talking about your vision for the future of American education and how states, schools, parents could all have greater [00:31:00] authority to direct their own educational destinies.

[00:31:04] Betsy: Well, it all wraps around the notion of education freedom. And I like to use the term education freedom as opposed to school choice because I think it helps us think more broadly about what learning could look like. Carrie, I think you’ve written extensively about different approaches to how kids can learn and in a structure that is very different from what most kids know today.

[00:31:28] You know, If Horse Man were to come back today and walk into a K-12 classroom, it would look largely unchanged. And yet every other area of society has changed dramatically. I mean, ho Man died 20 years before Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. So just think about. How many different creative ways the education entrepreneurs in this country could act and react if again, families and students in particular are empowered with those resources to make [00:32:00] those decisions and choices?

[00:32:01] We would see experiences that we haven’t learning experiences developed that we haven’t really. Let ourselves dream of because it’s just so foreign to us. I think about a, a small example, and it’s probably not even the greatest example, but there’s a little school in West Michigan where I live.

[00:32:21] And you, you probably both know, Michigan gets very cold in the winter, lots of snow. Often this particular school, kids go to school all day outdoors, year round. They love it. They have a waiting list for kids to get into the school, and clearly there are some teachers who love it as well. And I just think about how differently a kid could experience their learning if in, if every.

[00:32:49] Family and every child is really empowered to make those and drive those decisions. Some of the creativity coming out of the pandemic with the learning pods and the, one room schoolhouse, [00:33:00] 21st century version, whatever you wanna name it or call it. There’s so many creative ways. That kids can and do learn.

[00:33:09] and putting those into practice in a meaningful way, I think will be just groundbreaking for the whole experience of K-12 education and importantly for outcomes and achievement for kids. I think

[00:33:23] Kerry: that’s such a great point. Just seeing how. Education, innovation and entrepreneurship is being unleashed, has been unleashed over the past few years, and that’s really accelerated through school choice policies at the state level.

[00:33:35] I know Denisha and I often talk about the school founders that she works with, that Black Minds matter, and how many of them say they wouldn’t exist without the school choice policies that make their programs possible for many low. Families in their communities. So exciting to see what the future will bring for education and educational freedom.

[00:33:54] And Betsy DeVos, thank you so much for being on the Learning Curve podcast.

[00:33:59] Betsy: Well, [00:34:00] thank you so much, Carrie and Danisha. It’s been great to be with you and an honor to be.

[00:34:50] I’ve in the.[00:35:00]

[00:35:16] Kerry: for this week’s tweet of the week, I liked Doug Ducey, the outgoing Arizona Governor’s tweet reporting on the nation’s report card that found that Arizona eighth grade charter students were scoring among the US. Best, and he said, Arizona’s public charter schools are among the best of the best. We’re proud to lead the nation in offering more options, resources, and opportunities for our kids to get a high quality education.

[00:35:44] And next week on the Learning Curve podcast, I’m disappointed not to be back here with you, Denisha, to talk to Maat Wade, who is just such an extraordinary entrepreneur, writer, speaker. She is the founder and CEO at. Skin is [00:36:00] Skin. She’s an advocate for African dignity and prosperity. Her TED Talk, which I highly recommend, is why it is too hard to start a business in Africa and how to change it.

[00:36:11] And her forthcoming book is The Heart of the Cheetah. Denisha. It has been such a pleasure to guest, co-host Learning Curve podcast with you this week.

[00:36:22] Denisha: You too, Carrie. It’s amazing, and I had such a pleasure speaking with my friend, secretary. until

[00:36:29] Kerry: next week. Thanks for being.[00:37:00]

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