Education Secretary Betsy DeVos stumbled through a series of high-profile television interviews recently, in which she appeared unable to explain or defend several of her department’s key policies.
DeVos conceded that she has never “intentionally visited” underperforming schools in her home state of Michigan, where she spent decades promoting school privatization.
And she struggled to clarify the administration’s position on how to improve school safety in the wake of the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school last month.
Critics in the education policy world and in the media called her interviews “an embarrassment.”
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos stumbled through a series of high-profile television interviews, in which she appeared unable to explain or defend several of her department’s key policies and admitted that she has never “intentionally visited” the underperforming public schools of which she has been so critical.
One of the most controversial members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet, DeVos has long been an aggressive advocate for school choice, particularly in her home state of Michigan, where she’s poured significant funds into the effort to redirect government funding from public schools to private and charter schools, the majority of which are Christian.
In perhaps the most ridiculed segment of her Sunday evening “60 Minutes” interview, DeVos admitted that she does not “intentionally” visit underperforming schools, and said she didn’t know if the school choice movement in Michigan has improved school performance, despite clear evidence that the schools have declined in recent years.
“Have you seen the really bad schools? Maybe try to figure out what they’re doing?” CBS News correspondent Lesley Stahl asked.
“I have not — I have not — I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming,” DeVos replied.
“Maybe you should,” Stahl said.
“Maybe I should. Yes,” DeVos conceded.
Critics of school choice say it hurts students left in the underfunded public schools and effectively privatizes what should be a public service.
Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos struggles to answer fairly basic questions on school performance on 60 Minutes pic.twitter.com/lFVq3USwUW
— Axios (@axios) March 12, 2018
DeVos is vague on guns in schools
DeVos struggled to clarify the administration’s position on how to improve school safety in the wake of the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school last month. The secretary, who has been tapped to lead a new commission on school safety, attempted to avoid questions about gun regulation and argued that states should make their own decisions about whether to arm teachers.
When “Today” show host Savannah Guthrie asked her several questions about what arming teachers would look like, DeVos had few answers.
“This is an issue that is best decided by local communities and by states,” she said. “It is not going to be appropriate in every location, but it is going to be appropriate in some places.”
She repeated vague statements assuring her commitment to “advanc[ing] ways in which schools can be made safer for students,” as she told Fox News hosts during another interview on Monday …read more
Source:: Business Insider