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Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos says the nation’s children need to get back into a traditional classroom setting this fall.

“For almost all kids, that’s the right answer,” DeVos told WIBC host Tony Katz Monday morning. “We know that a lot of kids are just longing to get back into the classroom, back with their peers and teachers, and this is important for their whole health: their mental health and social well-being and, of course, their academic growth.”

DeVos expressed her concern that children and their parents are being held captive to others’ fears and agendas.

“And if schools aren’t going to open,” DeVos told Katz, “the money needs to follow those kids.”

DeVos said the teachers’ unions clearly have an agenda that is not focused on children or kids.

“It is to defund police, have universal healthcare, stop and turn back charter schools, and kill the D.C. scholarship opportunity program, but it is not focused on doing what is right for kids,” the Secretary of Education said. “We know for most kids that getting back in-person and going to school works well.”

She continued: “And For those kids for whom distance learning works well. And for those parents who are concerned because of some condition with the child, that should be an option too. But it needs to be full-time, robust instruction. Kids are falling behind as we speak.”

DeVos is an advocate for U.S. Senator Tim Scott’s (R-S.C.), “School Choice Now Act,” which would empower all parents – regardless of income or circumstance – to decide which school best meets their child’s needs, whether that school is public or private.

“President Trump and I firmly believe that parents need to be in control of their children’s education,” DeVos told Katz.

“We are currently hearing about families who are getting together with a few other families in their community and creating ‘micro-schools’ – a hybrid homeschooling approach – and all of those are great options,” said DeVos. “But all families should have the resources and support to make that happen,” she added. “And that is accomplished by empowering them with school choice.”

DeVos also responded to criticism from the media that the Secretary of Education has allegedly been “publicly absent as critical decisions are made on schools reopening.”

“The reality is that because I am solely focused on doing what’s right for students, it gets in the way – particularly in the way of the teacher’s union,” said DeVos.

She continued: “I will take a second seat to no one in how I have been engaged in these last several months. I have visited multiple states in the last several weeks, spoken with many governors and state school chiefs – most of them multiple times – and we’ve hosted virtual conferences and webinars to implement changes and encourage educators on how we’re going to address needs to kids going forward.”

DeVos said she remains 100% focused on advocating for all kids and their futures.

“And I am particularly concerned about children whose parents do not have the means to make the decisions and choices that others do,” said DeVos. “We need to empower parents to make the decisions that are best for their children to continue learning in a full-time and robust way.”

Click the link below to hear WIBC host Tony Katz’s full interview with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.