U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was in Salt Lake City Tuesday. She spent the morning visiting with students and school leaders at the Granite Technical Institute, part of Granite School District.
DeVos was given a tour of the vocational school which included a stop at a manufacturing lab where students were making objects out of carbon fiber.
She chatted with students about the hands-on nature of the class, which is part of a statewide Pathways program meant to equip students career-ready skills. DeVos said she was impressed with what she saw.
Later, speaking with the media, DeVos reiterated her support of school choice.
“All children should have an equal opportunity for a great education and we are committed to empowering parents to be able to make more of those decisions on behalf of their children," DeVos said.
Government funded vouchers which would allow students to attend private schools for free have not been a popular option in Utah.
Despite the state legislature and Governor approving a voucher program in 2007, Utahns voted it down with a veto referendum. More than 60% of voters were against vouchers.
DeVos acknowledged that this should be a state decision.
“If the state of Utah decided they didn’t want to participate in something they certainly would have that right," said DeVos. "I would certainly hope to encourage leadership to consider otherwise.”
Later in the afternoon DeVos addressed participants at an education tech conference downtown. She again emphasized school choice and said her job is to get the federal government out of the way of education innovation.