DeVos talks charter schools, praises state in SWFL visit

FORT MYERS, Fla. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Monday touted growth in the demand for charter schools.

She also praised Florida’s approach to education as she toured Florida Southwestern State College in south Fort Myers and Lake Park Elementary School in Naples.

“Florida is, I think, on the leading edge of providing parents a wide range of choices for their kids.”

The charter-versus-public debate has become increasingly heated statewide in the wake of House Bill 7069, a measure Gov. Rick Scott signed into law in July. The Lee County School District is one of 13 districts suing the state, claiming the law is unconstitutional and unfairly channels funding toward charter schools and away from public schools.

MORE: Lee schools formally join suit against state over charter funding

Local leaders who met with DeVos during her visit said they’re looking for more control.

“I think that’s really what she heard today, that we are eager at the local level to meet the needs of kids,” said Cathleen Morgan, chairwoman of the Lee County school board.

MORE: US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos tours SWFL schools