LPS sees DeVos visit as opportunity to tell the story of public education

Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Steve Joel considers the Thursday visit of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos a perfect opportunity to tell the story of Lincoln Public Schools, public education in Nebraska and public education across the country.

“We feel very privileged, it is an honor for our schools and our community that she has chosen our school district,” Joel said at news conference Wednesday. “This is a chance for us to showcase what’s right about public education today.”

Joel explained that the visit comes upon the request of DeVos to specifically visit the LPS Science Focus Program (Zoo School).  “We understand the reasons…She is looking for innovative and creative delivery of education, and we are excited she has chosen Zoo School.  It is a source of pride for our community. It demonstrates a great partnership of public education and community coming together.”

The Secretary will have an opportunity to tour the facility, to interact with students and teachers, Joel continued, and Zoo School students are excited about the visit. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them.” 

At the same time, Joel stressed, “we don’t have blinders on. We know there is a movement right now that promotes a different delivery of education.” 

But that makes this visit even more important, he explained. “In some ways, for this visit, we are representing public education throughout the state. We are representing all the voices of public education.” 

Joel stressed the Secretary will also get to see a public school district that excels in offering choice. Students who attend LPS have a wide variety of choices in how to succeed and achieve: 39 elementary schools, 12 middle schools, six comprehensive high schools and a roster of high school alternative programs.  “And we are working on a very aggressive strategic plan that will likely open the door for even more choices.” 

Joel concluded:  “I feel very fortunate that Lincoln has been selected for this honor, and I look forward Thursday to introducing Secretary DeVos to Lincoln Public Schools.”

Published: September 13, 2017, Updated: September 13, 2017

Superintendent Steve Joel speaks with local media during Wednesday afternoon press conference

“This is a chance for us to showcase what’s right about public education today.”

Superintendent Steve Joel