Betsy DeVos is a polarizing figure in education reform in America. While it isn’t a new issue, DeVos has been fighting against old administration policies as well as criticism from Democrats over educational choice. Despite this, DeVos continues to fight for educational choice, believing that it is the right thing to do for America’s students.
In an interview with “60 Minutes,” DeVos sat down with interviewer Lesley Stahl who had some tough questions about the successful of DeVos’ campaigns. While it was clear that there haven’t been conclusive results since she only took office in 2017, standardized testing scores have been going up. DeVos says that this is because students have been able to go to magnet programs and take online courses, not necessarily that public schools have been able to teach students.
There are still widespread reports that failing schools are not receiving funding. DeVos says that her plan is to put students first and allow them to use educational choice opportunities to get ahead. Students are now able to choose whether they want to go to the school where they are zoned or pick another school. If it’s a magnet program, private school, or charter school, the student still has to apply to get accepted into these programs.
DeVos says that the state with the best educational choice options is Florida. In the Sunshine State, you are able to pick a magnet program where you can study everything from performing arts to business law. You don’t have to stick with your designated school based on where you live. Parents are also loving this idea because they don’t have to force their kids to go to school where common core method is taught.
In addition to educational choice reform, DeVos has been working with school safety officials to improve campus security measures. In the “60 Minutes” interview, DeVos talked to Lesley Stahl about improving campus security and ensuring that students have a safe place where they can learn and study. She doesn’t believe that means putting more guns in the hands of teachers or administrators. DeVos has recently put in new security measures as of 2018 to ensure that campuses remain gun-free.
DeVos will working with other state leaders to hopefully get more educational choice programs in other states. So far, only Louisiana and Florida have distinct educational choice benefits.
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Dr. Saad Saad is a pediatric surgeon who has spent over forty years performing complex surgeries that have saved the lives of many children over the years. Some of his philanthropic works have been providing free medical care to underprivileged patients.
One organization that has sought him out on frequent occasions has been the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund or PCRF. This is a charity that tries to get medical assistance for poor Arab children in the Middle East. The organization has asked Dr. Saad to treat children in the United States, as well as travel to Palestine to treat needy children free of charge.
The PCRF approached Dr. Saad Saad several times to provide medical assistance free of charge for Palestinian children who were brought over to the United States for emergency treatment. The first occasion was a fifteen-year-old boy with severe gunshot wounds who had been shot at the West Bank.
The local doctors felt the wounds were too severe for them to provide the appropriate treatment, so they sent him the United States. Dr. Saad Saad examined the boy and concluded his situation was urgent. He performed a complex seven-hour surgery where he fixed the boy’s internal damage and patched the bullet holes. Learn more about Dr. Saad Saad: https://www.healthgrades.com/physician/dr-saad-saad-ys6d8 and https://doctor.webmd.com/doctor/saad-saad-md-3d5f8ce5-a764-4c86-b201-e50ec51cd7f2-overview
Another instance involved a young boy who had been hit with a bomb in his leg by the Gaza strip. The boy had been a talented soccer player but could no longer walk unless he had a complex nerve transplant. A nerve transplant is a medical procedure that Dr. Saad Saad has not performed, so he sought a doctor personally for the boy who had extensive experience performing this procedure. The boy was eventually able to return home walking and playing soccer again.
The PCRF also asked Dr. Saad Saad to travel to Palestine in order to treat children whose parents could not pay for medical care. Dr. Saad Saad believed that the most important reason for going to Palestine was to give medical assistance to those who lacked the funds necessary to pay.
Another important reason for him going to Palestine was that he felt he had a lot to offer young doctors in the form of knowledge. He credited training in the United States as one of the reasons for his skill as a doctor, and he wanted to ensure that when he returned home, the doctors would be armed with more knowledge to assist their own people.
When he first traveled to Palestine to give medical assistance in 2008, he performed the entire surgery himself, but on his last visit in 2015, he got to play an advisory role, ensuring the other doctors performed the procedure in a safe and effective manner.