During her confirmation hearing she said, “For me, it’s simple: I trust parents, and I believe in our children.” That sums up the Betsy DeVos I know. An entrepreneur, she will be a transformative leader for the Department of Education at a time when dynamic change is underway. She understands that states and local communities are in the driver’s seat but she will use the platform to play a supportive role, encouraging states to reach higher and do more to create a fertile environment for all students to achieve and thrive. She recognizes that students learn in different ways and at their own pace and that today’s educational system should be redesigned to accommodate this reality.
As governor, I understand the importance of developing innovative policies that put parents front and center in improving education outcomes. Such policies have paid dividends in Mississippi. We have been recognized for our innovation. For example, in 2016, Mississippi received the Frank Newman Award — the Heisman Trophy of Education — from the Education Commission of the States. The award recognized Mississippi for its bold and courageous policies to significantly impact student achievement in the state.
Most importantly, there have been tangible results in our classrooms. Last year, Mississippi’s fourth-graders led the nation in scoring gains on their reading and math tests. More than 90 percent of our third-graders passed their reading exams. Our high school graduation rate is higher than it has ever been.