This Interview With Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Is Cringeworthy at Best

13 March, 2018, 04:25 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • US Education Secretary Betsy De Vos said she will chair a federal commission on school safety

DeVos was referencing an interview with Leslie Stahl on "60 Minutes" that aired on Sunday, in which she struggled to answer basic questions about schools and education policy. DeVos claims "school choice" and stripping funds from public schools will help students, data from MI (where she has already implemented the program) shows schools are actually getting worse, and she has not visited any of these schools to see the problem in action. DeVos is also cherry-picking - as the Washington Post has noted, she has "been a force behind the spread of charter schools in MI, most of which have recorded student test scores in reading and math below the state average".

The Education Secretary introduced this circular logic as she tried to dodge and weave her way around Lesley Stahl's questions challenging DeVos' notion that public schools might improve as they lose funding to charter schools and other institutions. The controversial idea to put weapons in schools, which has drawn little support from educators, is part of a "pragmatic plan to dramatically increase school safety and to take steps to do so right away", Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a conference call with reporters.

DeVos advocates removing federal mandates, restoring local control and putting the government on the side of encouraging innovation, especially in failed school systems, that, yes, includes private, parochial and charter schools.

To which Stahl replied, "Have the public schools in MI gotten better?"

While DeVos maintained that addressing gun violence in schools is an urgent matter, noting that she's heading up a task force to observe what states are doing to protect students, Stahl balked, saying "this sounds like talking instead of acting".

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"If a bear comes into your classroom, throwing a book at him will only stun him momentarily, at best", DeVos said. In three of the four grade-subject combinations, Florida did better than the nation overall.

Then Stahl switched to Michigan, DeVos's home state, and one that she's spent years trying to make more charter friendly. About 56 percent of third-graders did not pass the reading test on Michigan's state assessment in 2017.

According to The New York Times, DeVos rescinded rules that allowed colleges to decide whether a student was responsible for a sexual assault using a "preponderance of the evidence", or the lowest burden of proof.

Stahl: Have you seen the really bad schools? "One only needs to follow the trail of donor money to Republicans to know that Walker has done her bidding, funneling money away from our public schools and mismanaging education". Maybe try to figure out what they're doing? DeVos responded, "Maybe I should".

Betsy DeVos: I don't know.



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