tv Education Secretary Betsy Devos Discussion on Education in America CSPAN July 19, 2020 10:24pm-11:01pm EDT
the director of the office of management and budget. on c-span3, the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage pandemic has exposed outdated i.t. and computer systems in the federal government. devosion secretary betsy talked about some of the challenges in education system due to the covid-19 pandemic. this event was hosted by the georgia public policy foundation. >> good morning. welcome to the 2020 georgia legislative policy forum. i am the president and ceo of the georgia public policy foundation. on behalf of our entire staff in the board of trustees, we are very glad you joined us. if you have attended this event in the past, you are well aware this year's edition is quite
different. we've had to adapt to different circumstances. that is the theme to this year's event, wisdom, justice, adaptation. we believe adaptation is the right focus for this year's session. circumstance. in fact that is the theme for this year's event, wisdom, justice, adaptation. as you probably know the playoff motto that we believe adaptation is the right focus for this year's session. speaking of the session today is only the opening events over the next several weeks we'll be back here on tuesdays at 11:00 a.m. to explore the way the families their businesses and their government are adapting to a changed world. we will covering the following areas, education, the budget, land use and transportation, the economy, housing, and healthcare. with exciting panels of experts lined up for each of them and we hope you will be able to join us for many of those as you can. we are grateful to be joined on this journey by some key sponsors without which our work would not be possible.
they are our presenting sponsor at at&t, our platinum sponsors verizon and the walton family foundation. we thank each of them for their support this event. we are pleased to have offered an outstanding lineup of speakers to you, our audience at no charge. you are so moved however we would appreciate your voluntary support as well you can visit www.dot georgia policy.org/donate to make a tax-deductible contribution. during this morning's program and the ones that follow, we would like to hear questions from you in the audience. you can submit those to us in the chat or q&a box on the screen just type your question there we will try to get to as many as we can at the time we have. now without further delay it is my great honor to welcome our key note speaker for opening session the u.s. secretary of education betsy
devos. secretary devos is a little pressed for time this morning, and so i'm going to skip most of her bio here, i think she is well known without that. the full agenda for this entire series including full bios for her and the others are available on our website georgia policy.org. so, i would like to go ahead and launch right in. first welcome madam secretary virtually to georgia. >> thank you so much kyle i appreciate the opportunity to join you all. kudos to you for doing things differently. >> we are all doing what we can these days. >> that's right. >> along those lines let's start by talking about particular challenges of the 2020 education not only in georgia and the united states but all across the globe. before we talk about this fall, i would like to ask what you saw from educators this
spring as they adapted to unforeseen circumstances. what you learned about education from that experience? >> sure, i think it goes without saying that nobody was really prepared to need to make the kind of a pivot and changes that all of us were forced to make. an education and educators were certainly no different. and students for that matter having to go from full speed ahead donate winter, spring semester into something entirely different. i think it was very instructive for everyone involved in education whether at the k -- 12 level or higher ed level to be able to learn from one another and to share those learnings in real time. i have had countless
conversations with school chiefs, with higher education leaders, with governors, everyone really involved with trying to do the right thing on behalf of their students, to talk about how to do that effectively, efficiently and quickly. i think the name of the game so to speak is the fact that those who are really willing and able to embrace the need to change quickly, really fair quite well. we saw particularly in higher education what we did as a department we immediately did everything we could to extend as much flexibility and a tawny to the state and local districts and higher ed institutions as much as we could under the laws and regulations that we are
directed to follow i know that was very well received were able to pivot very quickly. many had online learning platforms already there easily moved to full-time distance learning online was much easier and much more frictionless for those at the k -- 12 level. at the k -- 12 level we saw a lot of hard work that would into trying to ensure their students could continue learning. but we saw frankly a very uneven application of that. and my hope is that there was a lot learned from those few months where the necessity was there and in some cases the willingness to do everything
it took was there in many cases that was there. but in some cases there was also a propensity to give up quickly because it was so different and it was so unexpected. but with that said, we are very much focus on doing everything we can do here to continue to encourage and urge states to do that next right thing for their students. to keep in mind who we are serving here and who we are helping to prepare. that is the current generation for future leadership in our nation. so sorry stop by video. as we think about this fall you have been very clear that you expect schools to reopen their doors to students. and you talked a little bit about this spring and that
honest assessment that it was uneven and in many ways unsatisfying experience for many, many parts of the country. so tell us as schools do reopen their doors or at some point they have to revert to remote learning, are there some specific things you hope they will carry from that spring experience and do better this fall? so i think one of the real obvious learnings is particularly in k -- 12 education there has to be a much larger posture around being nimble and flexible and ready to adapt based on current circumstances. we have talked the last number of days about the importance of kids getting back in school. we know this is not a matter of their health versus nonhealth, it is really a matter of health versus
health. there are too many kids today who are suffering because of the isolation and distance from their peers and their teachers. having missed several months of learning in some cases and we know there are many measures of a child's health. as we think about going into the fall, it is imperative that kids get back into a routine and into a forward leaning learning posture to continue to develop themselves. we especially know for kids from the vulnerable situations, from low income backgrounds, those who don't have a lot of resources, those are the ones who are most negatively impacted by not having that school routine and that really
focus on continuing to move ahead and learn. and so i think we also talked about what some of my observations were. but i think absolutely the case that today, parents have a much clearer understanding of what their children's experience was this spring, they have a better perspective on how their particular school did with continuing to provide education opportunities. and they are looking now for that leadership on the part of education leaders to ensure their kids can go back to a forward movement and learning new material with the expectation that when we go back there will be full-time learning, full-time operation acknowledging that if there is
an area where there is a flareup they need to be a pivot or of a period of time to a distance environment. but again with the expectation that kids are back in school in routine and that schools are able to respond and react quickly to whatever the reality is in that particular area. we look across the country and we know and many, many many communities across the country they could go back today based on a lack of having a lot of infections in their neighborhoods or in their communities. and so i think it is really imperative for parents and education leaders to come together and talk about how we are going to move into new routines, acknowledging what we have learned and what we
have to be prepared for but with a posture of we have got to keep moving ahead. our kids are counting on us to get this figured out. >> so a broader but consistent theme from you as an education secretary is for americans to rethink education. as we think about adaptation we want to think about things that don't just hit the current situation but informed the way we deliver these services going forward. are there any adaptations or innovations from this experience you believe would carry over? so i think there's one thing we have learned is pretty much everybody has learned and that is that technology really can be and should be an enhancement to education. we can use technology in really important ways that may
be had not anticipated or thought of before. and when we don't look at technology as a threat but really as a tool, there is no end to the way education leaders can think about how to enhance their skills and their experience through the use of technology. i think also there has been a new realization that there are other ways to measure learning and education as a thing instead of measuring the amounts of time in a seat, they are competency and mastery measures so you are measuring what students are learning and achieving versus the amount of time spent
somewhere. we saw a lot of that deployed in the past few months in places where there was already an orientation around more distance and online learning i think the experience of the students and that case has been been the positives around that has passed on and shared with others much more broadly students at younger elementary age students who is learning at a distance and is sitting in front of a computer for several hours a day, that experience is not necessarily the most ideal one at a
distanc distance. all of that to say think there are different ways to embrace and use technology both in the classroom but also in the need or necessity to pivot to a distance environment for whatever the reason might be or whatever the preference of the family might be. think that is one of the big learnings and the lack of access that too many kids have to that. so our focus on needing to ensure that going forward that is a priority for states and communities to ensure their students had the same kind of opportunity. >> great, you talk about families and the theme from your work and education over the years in a couple weeks ago the u.s. supreme court handed down an important
ruling on this topic with espinoza during montana. felt a little bit about what that decision means to you. select that is a very significant decision. for those who are not familiar with the case, the espinoza cas case, it's espinoza versus montana, wasn't brought forward by a number of parents in montana that had chosen to have their children in schools that were working for their children through a tax credit scholarship program for the montana supreme court really discontinued the program because some of these programs were choosing to send their children to faith-based schools and they said that was unconstitutional under the montana constitution. the supreme court considered this and came down very much on the side of parents in this case and the reality that you
cannot discriminate against a school or another entity based on the fact it is religious in nature so the court was very clear if you're going to have programs that give parents choices in education, then they have to be open to any participants and not discriminatory on the basis of religion. so this has broad implications that relates directly to what is called the blaine amendment that 37 states have had. and it will go after that particular prohibition or that particular impediment that many states have been citing in years past as a deterrent to expanding or offering programs to empower parents to choose their child's educational setting. it has very broad implications, very important
implications. and i am very encouraged that states that currently have programs can strengthen them more, add to them and states that have been hesitant to go into that area will no longer have that impediment or perceived impediment to encumber them. >> as you speak about states and choices there are some states and some states do not have those we'll talk about a federal proposal that's out there tell us how that would give new options. that set the stage more broadly around this we know there are many, many children today across our country that are in schools that are simply
not working for them. but they also, all too many of them are in situations where they don't have any other choice. their family cannot move to a district where there is a better school quote unquote or they cannot find or put together the tuition necessary to get into the school that their parent might choose or wish for them. there has been a huge huge impediment to all too many families. and we have seen the detrimental impact of having kids stuck in places that are not working for them. and all too many of them, giving up on their futures because it is either a mismatch where they are or they're simply not in an environment that is conducive to their growth and their educational attainment and well-being.
so be at the choice of programs that have been started in states across the country and there are increasing numbers of them i am encouraged to see more and more states taking this on an offering these opportunities to families. we also know and lots of places there is a greater demand than actual supply. and so thinking about how do we fundamentally ensure all kids have an opportunity to access and education that is going to help them grow and develop into everything they can be, at the federal level, we do not want to create a federal program. is not the role of the federal government to be directly involved in any child's k-12 education. but we can help come alongside states and do so in a way that can enhance what states are
already doing and provide them additional resources to expand what's in almost every state that has a program the demand exceeds the supply and in states where they have not yet started a program, there is a real significant opportunity to do so with funds that will be supplied through the form of a federal tax credits. those could be funds -- mike they would be funds of voluntarily contributed by individuals or businesses into a pool that would then be distributed to states that want to participate. we know that most states would
not deny this opportunity to kids and see it as a huge advantage to expanding the kinds of choices that we need today. i would like to encourage people to think broadly about the kinds of choices that could be offered. most often we talk about school choice we talk about catch words used like vouchers, tax credits, education savings accounts and those are mechanisms to provide choices. but let's say you are in a rural area and you have a very small community. a very small school. it is not really practical to think that with a school choice opportunity you'd see a another two or three school buildings pop up in a community that already has a very small population to begin with. rather, you might see the choice opportunity manifests in this particular community access to courses that they
might not be able to take because their school is too small to be able to do it. they could take a course online, most likely from one of the finest in instructors in the world and do so right in their own school building their own school community. or maybe there is a handful of kids in that school that learn very differently and there is no reason that a small micro school could not be formed up right there alongside the one that already exists in the community for those kids who learn differently to be able to access their education in a way that works for them. or perhaps you are in a region that has significant opportunities post 12th grade post secondary education that may be don't require a
four-year degree that may be very attractive to kids in high school already and may actually be able to prepare them to graduate high school and enter maybe a short-term six month or one year program and then go into a technical role that is very exciting and full of opportunity for them these scholarship funds could be used to help enhance that particular track and perspective as well. i would really like to encourage folks to think very broadly about what providing choices and opportunity can mean and do that in the context of we are well into the 21st century. we look at how our world has changed in the last quarter-century and how much
is different than 25 years ago. and yet how similarly we approach especially k-12 education to 25, 50, even 100 years ago. it is time for us to introduce more opportunities and more perspectives and more approaches to preparing young people to be everything they can be in their futures and to do so in a way that empowers families to make those choices and make those decisions on behalf of the kids they know best. >> 's direct thank you for that. i know you had a last-minute scheduling change this morning with got about five more minutes, we are going to get to a couple of her audience questions here quickly before you have to go. i will start with this one we received which is many conservatives and education reformers have long advocated for assessment as a means to
better inform parents and teachers of academic proficiency. this is especially important since we did not assess students this past year unfortunate last month the georgia department of education announced they will be seeking a waiver for assessment from next year and democratically led states are following that lead. assuming you cannot comment on a pending waiver can you give your view on assessments in their place both in the percentage of federal perspective and how important they are to parents? >> thank you for that question kyle i think measuring and assessing is very important in multiple dimensions and pretty much every area of life. while we have given a waiver for assessments for this past academic year, i have been on record multiple times urging states to consider some sort of snapshot assessment when they come back to school this fall to understand where each
of the students is how much learning did they lose or not lose at some point in learning. where are each of these kids they are going into fourth grad grade, we know the transition from third to fourth grade is a critical one in terms of a student's ability to read and their literacy levels. so my orientation is -- and i understand the criticisms that have been launched over the years by both parents and educators around too many tests. i am certainly sensitive to that. but i do think knowing, measuring, understanding is the only way we can adjust and find tune for the future steps. and knowing where students are is of critical importance for
everyone. parents i think know and understand this intuitively. and at the same time they know having a test every other week is not the answer. but there is a balance to be struck there and it as an important one. >> one more question it has been disheartening to see much of the guidance from george's department of education with the cares act funding be used to prop up the old system and fill budget gaps rather than to directly support students in the spring and over the summer what is your view on how they utilize that money and how could any future funding support bill be crafted to more directly aid students? >> again i am definitely a federalist i know it understand the importance of the state and local communities and decision-making around education. also as administration have been very clear that this
spring clearly unearthed a lot of realities. and how we have actually accomplished it for a number of years or not in some cases. it has helped to reveal what deficiencies we have and where we need to do better, or do things differently. my urging has been for educators at the local level to be very creative about how they use these funds to address what the needs are based on the downstream implications of the virus and the pandemic and all of the closures. but to use these funds creatively and in a way that
is going >> on tuesday, pharmaceutical online or -- watch listen live at the free c-span radio app. joining us on the phone is eric watson of bloomberg news. give us a sense of the dynamics. we will hear from mitch mcconnell as he reveals -- unveils a senate gop plan. where do things stand now? a the house in may passed $3.5 trillion heroes act that was comprehensive. it provided a new round of direct payments. it continued the unemployment
boost that is ending at the end hazard pay fornd essential workers. it also had money for expanded testing and tracing and a host of other provisions. we are at the stage where mcconnell is coordinating with steven mnuchin, the treasury only planned a gop that he will reveal probably on tuesday. the word of the week is that there is a lot going back and forth between the white house and republicans. first there was the issue of the payroll tax. trump has referred to a desire to suspend the payroll tax from paychex, potentially for six months or more, to stimulate the economy. that has not been popular among senate republicans. they are perhaps more open to the idea of another round of direct checks.
if you implement this payroll tax change, it filters down to companies. it will not really get into pockets until october or later. that was one wrinkle. another that emerged yesterday blunt has been charged with coming up with a new plan for health care spending. he has put in 25 billion dollars for testing and tracing and $10 billion for the cdc. the white house came back and said there is enough money already there. there is a real back-and-forth between the two sides now. host: eu, the new york times, others reporting though -- others reporting the white house is pushing back. ?here republicans on the aspect >> they are looking at $1
trillion. they are trying to cap it at that. they need to look at the deficit hawks. the price tag has been $3 trillion for the covid crisis. they are trying to limit it to another $1 trillion. the democrats are talking about more money for school openings, approaching $4 trillion, going up. to get those guys on board, they are trying to limit it, but it becomes an issue of how you 500le that square with billion dollars going into a payroll tax deduction. host: someone has indicated that the house could be in session through the first week of august. give us a sense of the calendar and the looming deadlines. >> the house is looking to leave after the end of july. is set to be in
session until august 8 or nine and then go on recess. there is a desire by senate republicans to go back and campaign in their districts. it is very much up for grabs right now. there is a deadline pressure on mitch mcconnell, whereas pelosi is feeling her numbers are looking better for her vulnerable members. host: eric watson, his work available at bloomberg news. previewing what to expect when the house and senate return >> this week, the house and senate returned to legislative business before the august recess. on monday and tuesday, the house takes up the fiscal year 2021 national defense authorization act. the bill establishes policies for defense department programs. votes are expected early on monday. wednesday, the house will
consider a bill to remove the bust of chief judge -- chief and to roger tawney address the issue of confederate statues on display in the u.s. capitol. the senate also convenes on monday to resume debate on the nomination of russ tour boat to -- andctor of the office the 2021 defense of the ration act. watch live coverage of the house on c-span, live coverage of the .enate on c-span2 watch anytime on c-span.org or listen on the go with the free c-span radio app. acting editor of the american conservatives talks about the special edition of the magazine and where it is going in the age of president trump.
after that, prime minister's questions from the british house of commons. and from today's washington journal, abc news chief white house correspondent jonathan carl talks about his new book, "front row at the trump show." ♪ susan: john burtka, executive director and acting editor of the american conservative. the summer, you have got a special issue of the organization's magazine asking the question, what is american conservatism. tell me about this project? mr. burtka: thank you so much for having me on, susan.