Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

DeVos gets cold shoulder from White House after interviews

DeVos gets cold shoulder from White House after interviews

She couldn't say, for example, why schools in MI, her home state, have largely gotten worse since the widespread introduction of the school choice policies she lobbied for.

The interview came as the White House announced that DeVos would lead a commission to examine ways of protecting schools and students from gun violence in the wake of the February 14 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla.

In a sick irony, some on the right would use the recent school shooting in Parkland, Fla. - allegedly committed by a young man who carved swastikas into the magazines for his semiautomatic rifle - as a pretext to roll back civil rights protections for students of color. DeVos said that in Florida, for example, which allows lots of student choice, "the traditional public schools actually- the results get better".

Now, has that happened in MI?

But this isn't true in Michigan - Devos's home state.

Ms. DeVos released the original video afterward showing that she did respond, telling the audience that she had written many checks over the years to support school choice and that "the balance on my income has gone very much the other way".

DeVos said that she was "frustrated" that Stahl neglected to ask her about any of her "really good ideas" for the nation's schools, such as "purchasing guns for teachers with money that is now being wasted on books".

"Betsy DeVos is clearly unqualified to be in charge of such an important responsibility-the future of our kids". DeVos initially tried to dodge the question, but when Stahl doubled down, she said she didn't know.

"The plan is a first step in a more lengthy process", DeVos said, adding that she does not think that arming teachers with assault weapons would be "an appropriate thing".

Stahl spoke for many when she responded, "your argument that is you take funds away, the schools will get better, is not working in MI, where you have a huge impact and influence over the direction of the school system here".

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DeVos avoided answering the critique directly and pivoted by saying she "avoids talking about all schools in general, because schools are made up of individual students attending them". DeVos believes the key to improving public school districts is competition with private and charter schools, and so she supports redirecting taxpayer dollars away from districts for each child whose parents choose to pull them from the public system. There is no doubt about it.

Stahl: Have you seen the really bad schools?

It's not the first time DeVos' statements have been highly scrutinized as last January she struggled to answer basic education questions during her confirmation hearing before the Senate.

Betsy DeVos: Maybe I should. Yes.

"Maybe you should", Stahl suggested.

The White House on Sunday released a series of proposals to prevent gun violence in schools and called for the creation of a federal commission to study the issue.

"The 13 minute segment was heavy on critics who despise DeVos", said the Media Research Center's Scott Whitlock.

During her confirmation hearing past year, DeVos memorably supported the idea of arming teachers - perhaps against grizzly bears, she joked. "Her lack of answers isn't doing this Administration any favors".

STAHL: They want gun control.

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