Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos talks school choice, funding with Martie Salt

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited the Valencia College campus in Kissimmee on Friday.

The secretary said college affordability would be a priority under the President Donald Trump’s administration.

Channel 9's Martie Salt had a one-on-one interview with DeVos, to talk about what students can expect in the next four years.

DeVos, in her first solo trip outside Washington, was visiting the Valencia campus to highlight the role of community colleges in higher education.

Watch the full interview: 

After two roundtable discussions with students and others, DeVos told Salt she witnessed what she said is one of the best examples of successful community colleges.

DeVos is visiting education success stories like Valencia's to listen and learn about such programs that offer job training for trades, as well as dual-enrollment for high school students so they can advance more quickly.

"Valencia is clearly addressing that need in a major way. It's a model that can be replicated in many other communities,” DeVos said.

DeVos' confirmation as education secretary was controversial. She is a vocal advocate for school choice, which includes voucher programs and charter schools.

“I’m actually an advocate for parents having the opportunity to choose the best education environment for their child,” DeVos said.

DeVos responded to people who say they don’t want their tax dollars paying for voucher systems.

“I had the opportunity to choose that for my children because I had the means to pay,” she said. “I think every parent should have that opportunity, so that is the concept we should be talking about.”

As far as testing goes, DeVos insisted it’s an issue that should be left to states.

"Testing is an important part of the equation, but I really think it's a matter for the state to wrestle with to decide how frequently the testing is actually done,” she said.

She said the Every Student Succeeds Act will have requirements for measuring achievement across the country, but it would be up to each state to set their own standards.

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