U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is planning to take her first solo trip out of the Washington, D.C., area as secretary on Friday. The theme: dual enrollment and career and technical education.
DeVos will be going to Valencia College in Orlando, Fla., a prominent community college with a robust dual-enrollment program. The school also emphasizes career readiness—it has an advanced manufacturing training center. DeVos will be doing a roundtable with students, including those who have taken, or are taking dual-enrollment courses. She’ll also meet with campus leaders and local employers.
DeVos gave her second speech as secretary to the Community College National Legislative summit in February, and called community colleges a “uniquely American national asset.”
“You are nimble, inclusive, and entrepreneurial,” she told the group on Feb. 16, according to prepared remarks. “You provide important and valued pathways for students to prepare for success in this competitive economy. You equip students for high-demand fields and skilled jobs that help grow local economies and maintain communities.”
Dual enrollment courses could be considered a form of school choice, or at least course choice, something DeVos has talked about recently. It’s unclear if DeVos will mention this on her trip, but the Every Student Succeeds Act allows states to set aside up to 3 percent of their Title I money to help expand schooling options. The money has to be targeted to districts with schools in need of improvement, and can be used for everything from Advanced Placement course fees, to tutoring to transportation costs associated with public school choice. And it can be used to help students access rigorous courses, including community college classes. More information from Chiefs for Change here, and from Edweek here.
Dual enrollment has had bipartisan support in the past. For instance, in 2015, the Obama administration put in place a pilot project to help students access dual enrollment courses using Pell Grant funds.