U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited Grand Rapids (MI) Public Schools today for a roundtable discussion with superintendents from across the state of Michigan. The secretary opened the conversation by asking the group: “How can I best help you serve your students?”

The superintendents and the secretary discussed the following topics, among others:

  • recruiting, honoring and retaining effective teachers
  • equipping teachers with professional development and skills not taught in many higher education institutions
  • addressing regulatory burdens that limit flexibility for local educators and pull school leaders out of the classroom
  • implementing personalized learning solutions to better meet the needs of students
  • providing services necessary to help students grow and thrive inside and outside of school

“We had a very productive and insightful conversation,” said Secretary DeVos. “I appreciate each of the superintendents traveling to Grand Rapids to share their ideas and observations on how we can better work together to serve all students. I left the meeting re-assured that giving local leaders more control is important to improving education for every student in America.”

Grand Rapids Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal who hosted the meeting, gave the following statement:

“Last week, I received a call from U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ office asking me if I would host a meeting with approximately 25 superintendents from across the state. We invited a diverse group of superintendents from all corners of the state representing urban, suburban, and rural districts. The Secretary specifically asked for superintendents to share how best she and her department could better serve our districts. It was a very open, positive, respectful and constructive dialogue with superintendents sharing their issues, concerns and ideas specific to the federal budget, policy issues, regulations, reporting requirements, assessments and more. …

“I know I can speak for my colleagues when I say we are really grateful for the time and opportunity to meet with Secretary DeVos. We look forward to an on-going dialogue on how we can work together to improve education outcomes for all children.”

Today’s event followed a teacher roundtable Secretary DeVos held on Tuesday at the Van Andel Education Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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