Education Secretary gets lessons from the kids at Nelson Mandela Elementary

Phillip Cunningham
September 18, 2017

She told them all schools are important but her focus is on making sure everyone finds the right fit for them. She briefly thanked her parents and the school for their support while she was earning her degree.

It was as if the students sensed that the 90 minutes DeVos spent in their space would be staged engagement, with little time for the deep dialogue they value most.

Kansas City Academy Principal Kory Gallagher says Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' visit is an opportunity for the small school to showcase its academic philosophy, which is built on inclusion. The tour took DeVos to Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming and Colorado.

While no changes have yet been made, DeVos has made her intentions clear and further action will surely be met with controversy. Irvine says she would like to see Title IX requirements be put into law and applied to these schools as well.

"Public education is all kids", he said.

"The public school system, in my eyes, stands to benefit the most from teaching methods like the ones at KCA", wrote a student in a letter to DeVos that explained how being freed from a rigid curriculum allowed for more effective learning. We are talking this week about rethinking schools because the way that we've done school for over 100 years is essentially the same.

Sec. DeVos reads to Kindergarten students at St. Mary's Catholic School in Lincoln. The charter's board members, Gary Community School Corp.


DeVos, a philanthropist and former businesswoman, has been criticized by some for her her advocacy of school reform and for not previously working as a teacher or school administration.

That's followed by a late afternoon appearance at Hope Academy in Indianapolis.

DeVos' stop was the second on Friday in the last day of her tour.

Twenty-nine US senators sent an open letter to Betsy DeVos on Thursday to urge the education secretary to maintain current Title IX guidelines on gender equality in education.

In a statement, Indiana Democratic Party chair John Zody criticized DeVos' visit. Recently DeVos said the education department would be reviewing its enforcement.

Carole Carlson is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.

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