Outgoing U.S. Education Secretary John King is using his final days in office to caution educators about the potential weakening of public education system. USA Today’s Gregg Toppo reports that in King’s latest interview he urged renewed investment in public education calling it “central to maintaining the American Dream” and “fundamental to who we are as a country.”
His stance has notably been in sharp contrast to President-elect Trump’s education secretary nominee and King’s potential replacement Betsy DeVos who recently described public education as a “dead end” and a “monopoly.” DeVos has spent her career attempting to strengthen competition in the form of lightly regulated public charter schools and taxpayer-supported private school vouchers.
King, who is a former teacher, charter school founder and former commissioner of New York schools, says he believes public charter schools have the potential to be “laboratories for innovation” and opportunity, but that private-school vouchers are a different story altogether.
“Vouchers, I don’t think, are a scalable solution to the challenges that we face in public education, and I think (they) have the potential to distract us from focusing on how we strengthen public education.”