Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

DeVos shares data that 60 Minutes 'didn't show you'

Education Secretary Betsy De Vos during Sunday's segment Education Secretary Betsy De Vos during Sunday's segment
Charlie Simmons | 13 March, 2018, 11:21

DeVos gave an alarming interview on 60 Minutes yesterday that demonstrated her fundamental misunderstanding of school funding structures, student performance and the state of education in her home state MI.

During an interview with CBS News correspondent Lesley Stahl, DeVos spoke about her efforts to give parents the power to enroll their children in the school they believe provides the best educational opportunities for their sons and daughters.

STAHL: Now, has that happened in MI?

'Well, there are certainly lots of pockets where this, the students are doing well, ' she responded. When white students are disruptive, they are typically sent to the principal's office, Stahl said, while school staff often call the police on Black students.

The wife of Amway executive Dick DeVos and wealthy in her own right, Betsy DeVos is a former two-time state Republican Party chairwoman in MI.

'But again, I think this is an issue that is best decided at the local level by communities and by states, ' said DeVos, who is chairing a school safety commission. For years DeVos "been a force behind the spread of charter schools in MI, most of which have recorded student test scores in reading and math below the state average". On "60 Minutes", DeVos, whom Trump has chosen to lead his new school safety commission, appeared to signal she's on board. There is no doubt about it.

Stahl also recommended that the education secretary visit schools that are underperforming, to which she responded, "Maybe I should. Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need more guns in their classrooms". It wouldn't have taken an oracle to figure out that the education secretary would be asked about schools in her home state on 60 Minutes, but DeVos was somehow wildly unprepared for the question.

"Maybe you should", Stahl said.

DeVos shares data that 60 Minutes 'didn't show you'
DeVos shares data that 60 Minutes 'didn't show you'

"Maybe I should, yes", DeVos replied. If DeVos was coached to be as vague and non-specific in her answers as possible, she should get rid of the person giving her that advice. "'And we've seen great successes there". "But I'm committed to a process that's fair for everyone involved".

STAHL: Have the public schools in MI gotten better?

A study conducted by researchers at Michigan State University found that students who moved to another school district through schools of choice policies didn't improve test scores. Thirty-five percent of the charter schools have significantly more positive learning gains than their TPS counterparts in reading, while two percent of charter schools have significantly lower learning gains.

Devos is such a believer in charter schools that she has refused to look back to see the damage left behind in the wake of her own success.

How are public schools doing in MI? The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights continues to say they are not required to handle cases relating to discrimination against transgender students, the Huffington Post reported.

"So, there's a clear answer to that question", Eden continues. "If I had to answer every question she had about schools, I would have had to bone up on education for a month".

DeVos was a controversial cabinet pick for President Donald Trump, and advocates for increasing school choices rather than investing more in existing schools. DeVos said she was unsure.

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