Secretary DeVos Fails Interview on School Performance

If you’ve kept up with the news about the Trump administration lately, it’s easy to deduce that the majority have been unpopular headlines. I anticipate a new, ridiculous headline each morning when I turn on the news. It’s sad to think that this is my current expectation of our government. A few days ago, Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, was interviewed by Leslie Stahl of 60 Minutes. DeVos, at best, stumbled through this interview and found herself unable to accurately answer many of the questions posed to her. Parents and educators around the US deserve better.

If you missed DeVos’s 60 Minutes Interview, you can read the transcript here or watch it here.

It was expected that at the very least, DeVos would be familiar with the education performance of her home state, Michigan. However, when questioned about the overall performance of the state of Michigan, her response was, “I don’t know. Overall, I — I can’t say overall that they have all gotten better.” This is not a data-driven answer, one that would be expected from the current Secretary of Education of the United States.

When asked explicitly about visiting underperforming schools, Devos’s response was, “I have not — I have not — I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.” Stahl went on to respond that she should, and Devos agreed. DeVos should be held accountable for this statement as underperforming schools across the United States should have been a focus of hers since day 1.

Underperforming schools often go unnoticed and without the attention of their states and at the very least, DeVos should make more of an effort to serve these schools in her role. People in underserved communities make it their entire lives’ mission to improve educational access for students within those neighborhoods, and DeVos would greatly benefit from more targeted work with these organizations and communities.

As a teacher, I worry that the person in charge of education policy in the United States is unable to complete even a basic interview about her service to this day. How are we supposed to trust that DeVos can represent the United States in education if she can’t even answer education questions about her home state? As a parent, I expect better and more accurate answers on education. When asked about current data, I expect data-driven responses. Parents, educators and community members at my daughter’s school work tirelessly every single day to ensure that our students are getting the quality education they deserve and I expect our Secretary of Education to spend her time in office doing the same.

Nearing the end of her failed interview, DeVos was asked why she had become the “most hated Cabinet secretary.” Her response was that she was “misunderstood” more than anything. It’s safe to say that there is no misunderstanding when it comes to DeVos’s lack of answers and accountability when confronted about her time in office and academic achievement. She stumbled through her responses long enough for it to be clear that there is no “misunderstanding,” she in unqualified and our country deserves someone who can oversee the education system with data and a focus on the students who deserve it the most.

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Daniela Felix

Daniela Felix

Daniela is a first generation college student who is heavily involved in education in her home district, West Contra Costa Unified. After becoming a mother at a young age, Daniela’s passion for education justice only intensified and she began to fight for an equitable education for all children, regardless of background or zip code. Daniela played a key role in organizing parents with the California Charter Schools Association and is a firm believer in school choice for all families. She is currently a Lead Organizer with Students for Education Reform, organizing college students around education justice issues in her home district. She was recently accepted into Teach for America and plans to continue impacting the lives of children in her hometown of Richmond, CA as a high school social studies teacher. Daniela is a UC Berkeley senior pursuing her B.A. in Legal Studies and Education along with her 4 year old daughter and husband. Daniela is a firm believer in that every single child is capable of meeting high expectations if given the correct support. Daniela hopes to be a provider of that support.

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