Betsy DeVos Backtracks


Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is interviewed in her office at the Education Department in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. DeVos is distancing herself from earlier comments about the nation’s historically black colleges and universities being pioneers of school choice.In an interview with the Associated Press, she has acknowledged that in the past “racism was rampant and there were no choices” for African-Americans in higher education. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

If you remember Betsy DeVos made a remark about Historically Black Colleges and universities in February claiming that HBCUs are pioneers when it come to school choice ” They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality. Their success has shown that more options help students flourish.”

Refresh your memory here: DeVos: Black Colleges Are ‘Pioneers’ of ‘School Choice’

As a result she received backlash and was booed in May when she gave the commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University.
See here:  Bethune-Cookman University Invites Education Secretary Betsy DeVos To Speak At Graduation

Wednesday August 9, During an interview, DeVos backtracked from her earlier statement on HBCUS. “When I talked about it being a pioneer in choice it was because I acknowledge that racism was rampant and there were no choices,” DeVos said in an interview with The Associated Press in her office at the Education Department. “These HBCUs provided choices for Black students that they didn’t have.” “My intention was to say they were pioneering on behalf of students that didn’t have another choice. This was their only choice,” DeVos said. “At the same time I should have decried much more forcefully the ravages of racism in this country.”

DeVos, a Republican donor and long-standing school choice activist from Michigan, said that she has spent her career campaigning on behalf of minority children. “That’s where my heart has been for three decades is to really empower and allow all families the same kind of opportunities I’ve had for my kids”. DeVos, now acknowledges that she could have done more to make her position clear, I’ve had these conversations with some of the African-American organizations that represent higher education, but probably not as explicitly as I am right now.”

When asked about whether race should play a role in college admissions, “Well, they are looking at that, that is a factor today,” DeVos said referring to college admissions officers. “I am not going to debate that, I am not going to discuss that.” DeVos stated the key to giving students equal access to higher education lies in elementary and secondary school. “It is not fair to think that when students transit through a K-12 system that is not preparing them for beyond, that somehow we are going to wave a magic wand and things are going to be perfect for them at the higher-ed level.”

Personally, I feel as though we should hold individuals no matter what position they may hold, accountable for the things that they say especially if they lack the knowledge of whatever situation they’re speaking on. If you know better you will do better, and in order for a person to do better we must educate them on subjects that they’re ignorant and closed-minded to. I can not say with certainty that Betsy DeVos fully understands or is going to advocate for minority’s like she claims, but she acknowledges that how she came across wasn’t clear and were not her “intentions”. The first step in correcting your mistakes is to learn what you do not know, acknowledge your faults and to then change so that you don’t make the same mistakes twice.

Hopefully Betsy Devos, truly took something from this whole situation and does better, by no longer alienating a group of minorities in which she claims to advocate for.


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