13 March 2018 - Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Struggles to Answer Basic Questions About US Schools
White House officials alarmed at education secretary's '60 Minutes' performance
Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Lipta (CNN, 13/03/2018)
White House officials were alarmed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' struggle to answer basic questions about the nation's schools and failure to defend the administration's newly proposed school safety measures during a tour of television interviews Sunday and Monday, according to two sources familiar with their reaction.
Though DeVos was sworn in to her Cabinet position 13 months ago, she stumbled her way through a pointed "60 Minutes" interview with CBS' Lesley Stahl Sunday night and was unable to defend her belief that public schools can perform better when funding is diverted to the expansion of public charter schools and private school vouchers. At one point, she admitted she hasn't "intentionally" visited underperforming schools.
DeVos and the limits of the education reform movement
Jack Schneider (The Conversation, 12/03/2018)
Betsy DeVos exposed the education reform movement’s pitfalls in her highest-profile media appearance to date.
President Donald Trump’s education secretary got the job based on her years of advocacy for expanding “school choice,” especially in Michigan, her home state. Yet she stumbled when Lesley Stahl asked her in a widely watched CBS “60 Minutes” interview to assess the track record for those efforts.
“I don’t know. Overall, I – I can’t say overall that they have all gotten better,” DeVos stammered.
Betsy DeVos on guns, school choice and why people don't like her
Lesley Stahl (CBS News, 11/03/2018)
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is a devout Christian grandmother from Michigan -- who has spent most of her life trying to improve the quality of education for poor kids. So how in the world did she become one of the most hated members of the Trump Cabinet?
She is dedicated to promoting school choice but her critics say she really wants to privatize the public school system that she once called, quote, "a dead end."
Now, after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, her portfolio is expanding. Monday, President Trump is expected to appoint her as head of a new commission on school safety charged with developing policies to prevent school violence.
Will Betsy DeVos Expand the School-to-Prison Pipeline?
Michelle Goldberg (The New York Times, 12/03/2018)
On Sunday evening, CBS’s “60 Minutes” broadcast an interview that Lesley Stahl conducted with Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s education secretary and one of the richest members of his very rich cabinet. It was overwhelmingly seen as a disaster for DeVos, who struggled to answer very basic questions. She couldn’t say, for example, why schools in Michigan, her home state, have largely gotten worse since the widespread introduction of the school choice policies she lobbied for. When Stahl asked whether, as secretary, she’d ever visited a failing school to find out what went wrong, DeVos said, “I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.”
Like many things in Trump’s administration, this performance was shocking but not surprising. Before becoming secretary of education, DeVos had never worked as an educator or a policymaker; she was a donor to education reform efforts favored by the right, such as school choice and vouchers. Her confirmation hearings last year were an embarrassment. She appeared to be unfamiliar with the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, a federal civil rights law. After taking office, she described historically black universities and colleges, founded in response to segregation, as “pioneers when it comes to school choice.”