The controversies surrounding Betsy DeVos’ strong support for school choice hit home just as she took office as secretary of education.

When Diane Ravitch, an education researcher, suggested that DeVos visit successful school districts like San Diego Unified, local teachers unions were furious to find out that the invitation was actually extended on behalf of the district’s board of trustees. Outcry from local teachers eventually caused that invitation to be rescinded.

In this week’s podcast, co-hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn talk more about DeVos and concerns about funneling education funds from traditional public schools into private schools and charter schools.

Voice of San Diego’s education reporter Mario Koran also joins the podcast to explain how San Diego Unified’s impressive 92 percent student graduation rate got a boost from online credit-recovery charter schools.

“If a kid is coming up to graduation time and they’re not on track to graduate, we see a number of those same kids leaving the San Diego Unified schools and going to these credit-recovery high schools,” he said. “It gets those students off the San Diego Unified graduation rolls. So they don’t count anymore. They’re virtually excluded when they go to the charter school.”

Koran said this leads to a bigger question – how prepared are students when they graduate and what is the district doing to help those who are struggling?

Number of the Week

Five: That’s the number of states that provide school choice vouchers just for low-income students.

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