US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

Has there ever been a more polarizing figure in American education than Betsy DeVos? The US Education Secretary took office in 2016 under President Trump’s administration and has been working alongside legislators in every state to figure out a way to improve education. DeVos believes in educational choice, but not all states have been so eager to jump at the new legislation.


For many years, DeVos has worked in education reform. She has become a political maven, starting off her education at Calvin College and working her way up through the Republican Party, including a run for a bill in early 2000s called “Kids First! Coalition” in Michigan. However, the bill did not pass. DeVos has been working hard to change people’s minds about educational choice, but there are a few road blocks.


Despite what people misconstrue as a lack of education in public school education, DeVos is quite familiar. After all, her mother was a public school teacher and inspired DeVos to work on the side of education reform because she could see how it affected her as a teacher and how it affected students. DeVos talked about the new plans in a recent interview with Leslie Stahl for “60 Minutes.”


Stahl had many questions for the new US Education Secretary. He said that many do not like the policy because it would use public funding to support private schools, a fact which Betsy DeVos says is misleading because philanthropy has largely paid for funding private school vouchers since the beginning. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Sam Walton are among the biggest donors to the campaign. Of course, her own foundation has supported many of the scholarship programs as well.


While Stahl was skeptical that any of the programs had been successful, DeVos said that Florida had experienced the most success with educational choice. She points out that students have the most options to go to different schools than what they were zoned for, which is the whole point of her legislation. She believes that students and parents should be able to choose a different school than where they were zoned, especially if that is a failing school. DeVos says this is how students are able to get into better programs and actually like going to school.


However, it hasn’t been so easy for DeVos, who has been going around the country talking to schools about these plans in the hopes that students and teachers will be able to see that there is a difference to be made with educational choice.


In addition to these duties, she has taken on school safety reform under the appointment of President Trump, who wants the US Education Secretary to head up the fight against gun violence in schools and make schools safer for children. Stahl did ask DeVos if she thought that teachers should have guns, to which DeVos wasn’t sure. She didn’t believe that it had to get to that point, but there were other ways to revert schools back to a safe space.


Follow Betsy DeVos on twitter.

The NYFW Shows Of Academy Of Art University

The New York Fashion Week is always in the limelight. One reason is that it is a unique platform where the new people get a chance to get launched and attain recognition. Finding a great talent is rare these days. But The School of Fashion at the Academy of Art University has been doing it for 21 years now. It had the 21st runway showcase recently. This was organized on September 9, 2017. It was organized at the Skylight Clarkson Square. This season featured ten recent BFA as well as MFA graduates from this University. They showcased five womenswear alongside two menswear collections. There were two collaborations that were featured here.

Simon Ungless is the Executive Director of the School of Fashion at this University. He says that each collection has an individualistic style. But the entire process is a group activity.


One reason for the individuality can be the diverse backgrounds from which these designers come. While some are from mainland China, others are from coastal Maine and the places in-between. This was reflected in the wide range of ideas along with the variety of silhouettes that were presented here. The amazing craftsmanship techniques impressed all. The audience here included Ms. J Alexander from America’s Next Top Model. Another prominent figure was Sara Kozlowski, who is the Director of Education and Professional Development at CFDA.


Even though the entire show on the runway lasts for just 15 min, it takes several classes, workshops, as well as internships besides long hours of relentless labor that bring about these 15 minutes of fame on the runway. This is where the designers present their creation in front of their esteemed guests, peers, as well as potential career mentors. Now the show is being presented to the whole world through Livestream. In this way, all come to know about their visions with regard to the future of fashion.


All these are designers who have the ability to inspire and lead the future generations through their creativity. This is the faith that Jayne Foster, who is the Graduate Director of Fashion at the Academy of Art, has in them.



Success Academy; Where Success Starts

The Block Curriculum System


Unlike other kindergarteners who play with wooden blocks, Success Academy has the block curriculum. With this school curricula, the children learn as groups, for instance; they work as a team on an architectural sketch before constructing the actual project. Then one of the children in the group explains to other students what they had come up with.


Well-Furnished Libraries


The school has a well-furnished library that gives access to important books such as the Block City, which expose the students to both ancient and the present buildings from around the globe. Success Academy ensures that the student only uses the book to be inspired on their creativity rather than being used as a blueprint for their projects.


English Language Arts System


Success Academy has used the reading routes program for a long time in teaching decoding to first graders and the kindergarteners. However, they felt it wasn’t efficient enough. Consequently, they came up with their curriculum known as the THINK Literacy. THINK Literacy is a teaching program that consists of Independent Reading, Guided Reading, and Shared Text and Read Aloud segments. For the Guided Reading, children are given challenging books to read with the assistance from the teachers, for Read Aloud section the teachers read books to the students, and the next join in groups to discuss major ideas highlighted, for Shared Text segment, students are taught literacy techniques and short texts close reading. The Success Academy’s students spend at least two hours in any two segments mentioned above.


State Tests


Success Academy has undoubtedly performed very well in State Exams. The success is attributed to rigorous preparation for the tests. For instance, the students are given practice tests before the tests, and the results are posted to all students. Those who perform poorly attend additional sessions on weekends. Success Academy holds rallies that motivate students to perform better.


Success Academy was founded in 2006. It has 32 schools, seven middle schools, a brand new high school, and twenty-four elementary schools. The network plans to build additional schools over the next few years that shall educate over 20000 students. It is the fastest growing school network in the United States


Check out Success Academy on Facebook for more information!