“You never attended a K-12 school, did you? Your children did not either, correct?”
These had been the questions Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) directed to Betsy DeVos throughout her January 2017 confirmation hearing, in entrance of the Senate Committee on Well being, Schooling, Labor and Pensions (HELP).
The soon-to-be-confirmed secretary of schooling politely confirmed on the time that neither she nor or her kids had a lot expertise with the general public schooling system. As The New York Times pointed out in a June 2017 feature, DeVos and her kids all attended personal spiritual colleges.
13 months into her appointment, it appears little has modified by way of DeVos’s expertise with the schooling system she helms. In a revealing March 11 interview with 60 Minutes, DeVos’s lack of ability to reply questions on public education and demanding schooling points — like arming academics and federal funding — have by no means appeared extra obvious.
In keeping with a transcript of the 60 Minutes segment released by CBS News, interviewer Lesley Stahl started by asking DeVos concerning the ongoing nationwide debate on weapons, together with the White House’s push to arm teachers in the classroom. DeVos, who famously explained the need for armed classrooms was due to the potential threat of grizzly bears, responded by saying arming academics ought to be “an choice for states and communities to think about” whereas admitting she couldn’t think about her first-grade trainer, Mrs. Zorhoff, ever having a gun “or being trained in that way.”
When Stahl inquired about DeVos’s well-known want to chop public schooling funding in favor of college selection, as covered by The Washington Post, DeVos justified her help of different schooling choices with the argument that “billions and billions and billions of dollars” had been spent on public colleges by the federal authorities with “zero results.” Stahl countered, stating that public-school take a look at outcomes have gone up previously 25 years. However DeVos insisted faculty selection is central to schooling reform, saying, “Any family that has the economic means and the power to make choices is doing so for their children.” As a result of not each household has these means, she mentioned, “I am fighting for the parents who don’t have those choices. We need all parents to have those choices.”
Stahl requested DeVos concerning the Trump administration’s choice to analyze (with, as Politico speculated, the intent of overturning) the Obama-era rule in search of to stop discriminatory self-discipline, a time period used to explain the statistical findings that college students of colour are disciplined extra harshly, in response to the Department of Education’s own website. In response to the query, DeVos informed Stahl: “All of these issues or all of this issue comes down to individual kids” and that the difficulty of institutional racism was being “carefully” studied. DeVos was additionally requested about sexual assault in colleges and claimed she didn’t know if false accusations or assaults were more numerous.
However it’s maybe DeVos’s evaluation concerning the public colleges in her house state of Michigan that’s incomes probably the most important ire. In an change described by The Washington Post as “painful”, Stahl requested DeVos a easy query: “Have the public schools in Michigan gotten better?”
DeVos responded: “I don’t know. Overall, I — I can’t say overall that they have all gotten better.”
When pressed additional, DeVos tried to justify her refusal to specify, saying, “I hesitate to talk about all schools in general because schools are made up of individual students attending them.” She then admitted she has not “intentionally” visited any underperforming schools in her home state. When Stahl suggested she should, DeVos agreed: “Maybe I should. Yes.”
DeVos has had a hand in financially empowering the pro-charter-school foyer in Michigan, as reported on extensively by The New York Times, Time, and Politico. Her “I don’t know” reply drew harsh criticism, notably from Michigan press.
The Detroit Free Press responded to DeVos’s interview by reemphasizing its work finding out schooling tendencies within the state, together with protection of a latest report elevating considerations a couple of statewide drop in proficiency amongst third graders.
All through Sunday, March 11, and Monday, March 12, DeVos took to Twitter to deal with a number of the harshest takes on her 60 Minutes interview. Within the midst of criticizing the present for its editorial decisions, she reiterated her positions on faculty selection, provided help for constitution colleges, and shared a map of all the colleges she has visited.
The political response to DeVos’s interview has been swift and fierce, as effectively, with Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) tweeting that DeVos is “clearly unqualified”. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) echoed these phrases in a tweet of her own. CNN reported that White Home officers watched DeVos’s 60 Minutes look and follow-up Monday interview “with dismay.”
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was requested about DeVos’s Sunday night time 60 Minutes interview and her follow-up Today show interview Monday morning through the Monday, March 12, White Home press briefing. She said that the president is targeted “not on one or two interviews, but on actual policy that can help protect the safety and security of schoolkids across this country.”
In keeping with a CBS This Morning tweet, a Division of Schooling spokeswoman additionally responded to the general public criticism, saying DeVos is “quite aware” that the state of Michigan wants to enhance for its college students.