Betsy DeVos pushes back against criticism over "60 Minutes" interview

Education Secretary struggles to answer basic questions about education on '60 Minutes' as she fumbles answers on school choice, campus rapes and racism

Education Secretary struggles to answer basic questions about education on '60 Minutes' as she fumbles answers on school choice, campus rapes and racism

Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, sat down with journalist Lesley Stahl to talk about education.

Stahl pointed out that maybe she should.

How bad was it?

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

The interview also addressed the movement for gun control founded by student survivors of the Parkland, FL, shooting.

Well, the students at Stoneman Douglas may want a "variety of things".

Numerous student survivors have urged Washington to toughen restrictions on gun purchases, but such measures are fiercely opposed by the National Rifle Association, and the Trump plan does not include any substantial changes to gun laws. They have been crystal clear about that.

Stahl: Have the public schools in MI gotten better?

MI is dead last among states in improvement in math and reading between 2003 and 2015, according to an analysis of data from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP).

DeVos: Yes, well there's lots of great options and choices for students here in MI.

Lesley Stahl: Have the public schools in MI gotten better?

Betsy DeVos: I don't know.

"I don't know - overall, I can't say overall that they have gotten better", DeVos replied.

"There was an outlier that DeVos should have championed, and it wasn't Florida: Arizona saw a big increase in charter-school enrollment and big gains in proficiency in the state's public schools".

If I was a boxing referee, I would have stopped this exchange about halfway through. "I support choice and charters, but that's been the philosophy for 20, 25 years, and it hasn't improved education".

According to The New York Times, DeVos rescinded rules that allowed colleges to decide whether a student was responsible for a sexual assault using a "preponderance of the evidence", or the lowest burden of proof.

"Walker consistently governs in his own self interest and he has promoted Betsy DeVos' privatization scheme against our public schools to reward her and other wealthy elites", added Laning. There is no doubt about it. Unfortunately for DeVos, we already know what happens when you aggressively defund public schools and try to replace them with barely-regulated, for-profit charter schools, because she fought so hard for that to happen in MI.

'I have not, I have not, I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming, ' she said.

"I don't know. I don't know", DeVos answered.

Then Stahl switched to Michigan, DeVos's home state, and one that she's spent years trying to make more charter friendly.

Her performance got panned in multiple media outlets. Whether any of this benefits students or not is still to be determined, but for the time being, the secretary is bumbling her way through just like many of her inexperienced cabinet cohorts.

"Well, no it's not", Stahl said.

"It's hard for her to establish credibility in speaking about those issues when she hasn't visited an underperforming school as secretary", Mann said.

Um, judging by this interview, DeVos is not misunderstood. And appears to be voluntarily wearing rose-colored glasses by seeing only the places where everything is going hunky dory. "And one falsely accused individual is one too many", DeVos said.

STAHL: Yeah, but are they the same?

The Education Department apparently felt DeVos' remarks called for some clarification.

"The secretary has been very intentional about visiting and highlighting high performing, innovative schools across the country", Hill told The Associated Press in a statement.

"Did you ever see her?"

The interview is a painful watch - from beginning to end.

Eden explains to Breitbart News how DeVos should have responded to these questions. "I think probably there, I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools to protect from potential grizzlies", she had said.

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