National Review Online
Betsy DeVos is the focused campaigner American schools need.
Big institutions aren’t easy to change, and American public education is big: over 3 million teachers were employed in American public schools in 2016. Walmart, the world’s largest employer, has 1.4 million U.S. employees; the American military has 1.3 million people on active duty.
Since American public education needs to change, as everyone seems to agree, what would it take to turn around an institution that’s bigger than Walmart and the U.S. military combined?
A technocrat who knows many things will never turn around a massive organization. Subtlety and complexity are quickly lost in a sea of 3 million people. The focused leader who knows one big thing at least stands a chance of turning around even the largest organization: One big message, driven home relentlessly, can get through.
Betsy DeVos’s one big idea is school choice, and that big idea brings a secondary effect, which is institutional competition. While her big idea is not guaranteed to fix America’s failing public schools, at least it has a chance — and that’s more than can be said for everything else that has been tried.