Here are four topics she covered during her keynote (full remarks here):
1. Local control
“When it comes to education, no solution, not even ones we like, should be dictated or run from Washington, DC.
“Let me be clear. I firmly believe every state should provide choices and embrace equal opportunity in education. But those are decisions states must make. No two states are the same and no two states’ approaches will be the same – and that’s a good thing. States are the best laboratories of our democracy.
“We shouldn’t view this, however, as a chance to mandate a one-size-fits-all school choice proposal. We all fundamentally know one size doesn’t fit all…and that we won’t accomplish our goals by creating a new federal bureaucracy or by bribing states with their own taxpayers’ money. We should have zero interest in substituting the current big government approach for our own big government approach.”
2. States that don’t choose to participate in school choice programs would make a “terrible mistake”
“If a state doesn’t want to participate, that would be a terrible mistake on their part. They will be hurting the children and families who can least afford it. If politicians in a state block education choice, it means those politicians do not support equal opportunity for all kids. They’ll be the ones who will have to explain to their constituent parents why they are denying their fundamental right to choose what type of education is best for their child.”
3. Reform vs. transformation
“We must acknowledge that the future is bleak for millions of students if we only continue to tinker around the edges with education reform.
“We’ve had 30 years of ‘reform.’
“And while we celebrate the progress that has been made, each year there are still far too many kids falling through the cracks.
“The time has expired for ‘reform.’ We need a transformation – a transformation that will open up America’s closed and antiquated education system.”
“In order to succeed, education must commit to excellence and innovation to better meet the needs of individual students. Defenders of our current system have regularly been resistant to any meaningful change. In resisting, these ‘flat-earthers’ have chilled creativity and stopped American kids from competing at the highest levels. Our current framework is a closed system that relies on one-size-fits-all solutions. We need an open system that envelopes choices and embraces the future.”