Betsy DeVos Struggles To Answer The Most Basic Questions About Schools

DeVos couldn't justify cutting public school funding and said “arming teachers” could be the solution for violence in schools.


Education Secretary Betsy DeVos admitted to not visiting struggling public schools in her hometown of Michigan as she appeared on “60 Minutes” with Lesley Stahl.

DeVos discussed a variety of issues within the education sector, including her proposal to cut public school funding and how she became “the most hated cabinet secretary.”

Almost all of the answers from the education secretary boiled down, rather exasperatingly, to one point: choice.

DeVos seemed convinced that providing more choice for parents in the form of private schools will eventually bolster public schools, a claim that is rarely backed by various studies.

DeVos has been previously heavily criticized for pushing charter schools.

In an interview that should have been fairly basic for the secretary of education, DeVos struggled to make her way through most of the basic questions, admitting she should visit “bad” public schools after Stahl recommended that would be a good idea.

“I have not — I have not — I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming," DeVos stuttered. "Maybe I should.”

She “hesitated” to talk about school performance in general as schools are made up of “individual students,” repeatedly failing to prove her point that taking funds away from public schools will directly affect the school system, seemingly unaware of the fact that, statistically, Michigan schools are not doing well on a state level.

She also maintained providing “choice” to parents who do not necessarily want to get “stuck” with schools they don’t like for their kids.

“Families that don't have the power, that can't decide: 'I'm going to move from this apartment in downtown whatever to the suburb where I think the school is going to be better for my child,' if they don't have that choice — and they are assigned to that school, they are stuck there. I am fighting for the parents who don't have those choices. We need all parents to have those choices,” DeVos said.

The education secretary claimed investing “billions and billions and billions of dollars” without seeing any improvement in the public school sector, oblivious to the fact that better results have been accomplished over the past 25 years.

DeVos also maintained that arming teachers is a “solution” that “can and should be considered.”

The education secretary was roundly rebuked for her performance at her confirmation Senate hearing where she refused to clearly commit to not cutting “a single penny from public schools” in favor of “magnet, virtual, charter, home, faith-based or any other combination” schools.

DeVos has received heavy backlash over her appointment in the education sector for various reasons, most importantly her lack of experience in working with public schools. She has also been accused of trying to replace public school sector with “religious” charter schools. 

Clara Jeffery, editor-in-chief of Mother Jones, reported DeVos’ agenda is to “ultimately tear down public schools in the name of choice.” She presented a list of reports published over time to support her claims; with attempts at busting unions — for example, teacher unions typical at public schools.

Jeffery also alleges DeVos’ positive stance toward “arming teachers” is also a backdoor to get funding for her brother and Blackwater founder, Erik Prince. Jeffery said Prince is working toward replacing U.S. military with private mercenaries like his company.


Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Aaron P. Bernstein/ Reuters

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