Betsy DeVos Intentionally Chose Not To Visit Struggling Schools In Michigan

Saul Bowman
March 14, 2018

Stahl pointed out that programs that diverted funds away from struggling public schools to private ones did not, as DeVos and other advocates have argued.

Lesley Stahl: Now, has that happened in MI? In fact, we've compiled the most important K-12 education metrics into a quickie issue guide: Michigan's K-12 performance dropping at an alarming rate.

Research on private school options found that students that chose a private school were more likely to finish high school and even enter college than their peers in traditional schools.

Stahl: O.K. But what about the kids who are back at the school that's not working? Now, she's being tasked with leading a commission on school violence. "Overall, I can't say overall that they have all gotten better".

Lesley Stahl: The whole state is not doing well.

If I was a boxing referee, I would have stopped this exchange about halfway through. Overall, Devos struggled to answer basic questions that pertained to schools in her home state. Where you had a huge impact and influence over the direction of the school system here.

Thankfully, DeVos is doing all she can to combat this noxious scourge of people going to school.

"Have the public schools in MI gotten better?". There is no doubt about it.

Asked if the public schools in MI performed better after she advocated for school choice there, DeVos answered, "I can't say overall that they have all gotten better".

In the tense exchange, correspondent Lesley Stahl questioned whether it's wise to remove funds from public schools and inject them into charter schools, as DeVos had a hand in doing in MI.

DeVos disclosed that she has not "intentionally" visited schools which are underperforming.

Betsy DeVos: Just the other week, the American Federation for Teachers tweeted at me. Stahl told her they weren't.

Beth Richardson is committed to her son's success.

"Maybe you should", Stahl said. Betsy DeVos: I couldn't believe it when I read it, but you have to admire their candor.

DEVOS: Sometimes it does.

You are not misunderstood, Secretary DeVos. Both she and "60 Minutes" are known quantities, and DeVos accepted the interview. "She couldn't say whether the number of false accusations of sexual assault on school campuses is lower than the number of actual rapes or assaults", writes Valerie Strauss. In response to the question, DeVos told Stahl: "All of these issues or all of this issue comes down to individual kids" and that the issue of institutional racism was being "carefully" studied.

STAHL: Yeah, but are they the same? It's worth noting that during DeVos's confirmation hearing before the Senate education committee in January 2017, she said, "I believe there is a lot that has gone right in Detroit and MI with regard to charter schools." Sen. Well, consider that DeVos, whose brother Erik Prince founded the Blackwater mercenary outfit, jettisoned the Education Department's usual security in favor of round-the-clock protection by US marshals for $6.5 million a year.

In her tweet referencing the Michigan Radio story, DeVos said, "The reforms are helping, but there's so much more to do". Like, you don't have to necessarily agree with her but at least she should have a thought about all of this, right?

The answer above was good, in that she offered a specific example about Florida that helped to prove her broader point.

When "Today" show host Savannah Guthrie asked her several questions about what arming teachers would look like, DeVos had few answers.

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