Betsy DeVos Is a Shameful Disaster

Last night, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who was selected by Donald Trump primarily for her enthusiasm toward destroying public education, sat down for an interview with Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes. And it was an absolute dumpster fire.

DeVos was unable to answer even basic questions about public education, even in her home state of Michigan, where she has long been a "reformer," which means undermining the public education system in favor of privatization, including charter schools and vouchers. She is shamefully ignorant — something that was abundantly clear during her confirmation hearing.

But the job with which she's been tasked by the Trump administration isn't to be knowledgeable and competent; it's to peddle lies and destroy free public education for every child, thus subverting even more thoroughly what is meant to be a great equalizer among classes and races and genders and abilities, and inevitably reducing opportunities for less privileged children.

The interview and transcript are available [Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] at 60 Minutes' site, and but below is a clip (with transcript) showing DeVos simultaneously being an embarrassing disgrace and a magnificent example of modern conservatism, where who you know is more important than what you know, and being willing to destroy the thing you're ostensibly tasked with nurturing is a key qualification.

Lesley Stahl: Why take away money from that school that's not working, to bring them up to a level where they are — that school is working?

Betsy DeVos: Well, we should be funding and investing in students, not in school — school buildings, not in institutions, not in systems. And, so it should be—

Stahl: Okay. But what about the kids who are back at the school that's not working? What about those kids?

DeVos: If— Well, in places where there have been — where there is a lot of choice that's been introduced, um, Florida, for example, the— Studies show that when there's a large number of students that opt to go to a different school or different schools, the traditional public schools, actually, the results get better, as well.

Stahl: Now, has that happened in Michigan? We're in Michigan. This is your home state.

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

Stahl: Have the public schools in Michigan gotten better?

DeVos: Uh, I don't know. Overall, I— I can't say overall that they have all gotten better.

Stahl: The whole state is not doing well.

DeVos: Well, there are certainly lots of pockets where this — the students are doing well and—

Stahl: No, but your argument that, if you take funds away that the schools will get better, is not working in Michigan, where you had a huge impact and influence over the direction of the school system here.

DeVos: I hesitate to talk about all schools in general, because schools are made up of individual students attending them.

Stahl: The public schools here are doing worse than they did.

DeVos: Michigan schools need to do better. There is no doubt about it.

Stahl: Have you seen the really bad schools? Maybe try to figure out what they're doing?

DeVos: I have not— I have not— I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.

Stahl: Maybe you should.

DeVos: Maybe I should. Yes.
I have an even better idea: Maybe you should quit. Quit your job, quit your reprehensible ideology, quit trying to make life harder for people whose lives are already hard enough, and quit being a fucking asshole and instead use that unfathomable wealth to repair public education and buy yourself some redemption.

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