White House to help arm school staff

Marie Harrington
March 14, 2018

Her conservative defenders accused "60 Minutes" of waging a biased attack on Ms. DeVos complete with frequent references to her wealth-she's a billionaire-and a dig at her "sheltered life in MI".

DEVOS: They want a variety of things.

Betsy DeVos: Michi- Yes, well, there's lots of great options and choices for students here.

MI also has a high level of school of choice and charter schools, but school tests scores are not improving like they are in Florida, a point indicated by Stahl. But it's worth looking past the obvious gaffes to see how DeVos's fundamental ideas about education run contrary to her department's mission - and how her home state of MI is a ideal example of this. Part of the proposal includes a task force to examine ways to prevent future mass shootings, headed by DeVos.

DeVos' critics said the interview reinforced why the West Michigan native is unqualified for her job, while the Associated Press reported that the segment received a "less than ringing endorsement" from the White House. In a sick irony, some on the right would use the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida - allegedly committed by a young man who carved swastikas into the magazines for his semi-automatic rifle - as a pretext to roll back civil rights protections for students of color.

That appointment came after yet another example of the controversy that has marked her tenure as secretary: a visit by DeVos to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week that was angrily criticized by some students on social media.

STAHL: Now, has that happened in MI?

"The whole state is not doing well", Stahl responded.

Stahl questioned DeVos on her decades of philanthropic intervention in the school system in MI, where her family has promoted a free market approach to school choice, including for-profit operators of charter schools that receive taxpayer funding.

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"You never attended a K-12 school, did you?"

The "60 Minutes" interview was spectacular because DeVos simply admitted that she had intentionally not visited underperforming schools to figure out how to help them. After taking office, she described historically black universities and colleges, founded in response to segregation, as "pioneers when it comes to school choice".

In a "60 Minutes" interview, DeVos said that she had not visited any underperforming schools during her tenure as secretary.

"Maybe I should", DeVos said.

And don't make things worse by trying to claim that there are "lots of pockets" where things are going well. Betsy DeVos: I couldn't believe it when I read it, but you have to admire their candor.

You are not misunderstood, Secretary DeVos.

Stahl suggested she should, to which DeVos responded, "Maybe I should". Both she and "60 Minutes" are known quantities, and DeVos accepted the interview. For instance, when asked about sexual assault, she could not say whether the number of false accusations was lower than the number of actual rapes or assaults. 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 USA marshals for $6.5 million a year. Due to the uncertainty, public debate could continue as DeVos' Education Department continues its pro-school choice agenda to the dismay of opponents like the NEA.

According to the Washington Post, Throughout the interview, Stahl asked pointed questions to Devos.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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