U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is off to South America this week, where she will be part of the U.S. delegation of the first-ever G-20 meeting of education ministers. She’ll also visit career and technical education programs in Chile and Argentina.
The G-20 provides a forum for countries to discuss international economic development and cooperation. Its members include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.
DeVos will first travel to Santiago, Chile, where she will visit Liceo Industrial Eliodoro García Zege, a school which describes its mission as “professional technical training, based on competencies, with a projection towards higher education.” She’ll also visit Instituto Nacional de Capacitación (INACAP) Santiago, which offers postsecondary training.
And she will meet with the U.S. Ambassador Carol Perez, and with her Chilean counterpart, Minister of Education Marcela Cubillos.
DeVos’ itinerary did not suggest she’d be exploring school choice in Chile. But if she wanted to, there would be plenty to see. The country has embraced vouchers in a big way. But in many cases, low-income and rural students still attend struggling public schools. And overall, the impact of the choice system in Chile has been mixed at best, according to two professors from University of Richmond, Jennifer L. Erkulwater and Jennifer Pribble.
After Chile, the secretary will head to Mendoza, Argentina where she will participate in meetings with other G-20 education ministers. She’ll also visit the Infinito por Descubrir Learning Center, which describes itself as an informal program to stimulate “soft skills” in children ages 6 through 18. It engages kids in robotics, programming, videogames, art, design, and biotechnology.
This is DeVos’ second international trip this year in her role as secretary. In June, she traveled to Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom to explore school choice and career and technical education.
Photo: Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
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