The public displays of acrimony between California lawmakers and President Donald Trump's administration continued on Sunday, with Representative Jared Huffman labeling Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as "rich, white, and dumber than a bag of hammers". Interviews with DeVos broadcast Sunday night and Monday morning by CBS and NBC show that she's performing below grade level in all subjects - and her deviation below the mean is anything but standard.
Ms. DeVos later posted reports on Twitter showing that test scores have stagnated in Michigan schools, while students in Detroit charter schools "performed twice as well as those in traditional public schools", according to Michigan Public Radio.
That appointment came after yet another example of the controversy that has marked her tenure as secretary: a visit by DeVos to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week that was angrily criticized by some students on social media. But it's worth looking past the obvious gaffes to see how DeVos's fundamental ideas about education run contrary to her department's mission - and how her home state of MI is a flawless example of this.
See video below for an excerpt dealing specifically with MI schools.
DeVos tweeted Monday afternoon: "Here's what we shared with @60Minutes, which of course they didn't show you: MI, like much of the nation, isn't doing well enough to prepare students". When asked why schools are still underperforming there despite her efforts, she gave non-answers that showed she had no data and no valid argument.
"Maybe you should", Stahl said.
All this proves that it is sheer (if perhaps unintentional) genius to have DeVos, who married into the Amway fortune, in her role in the Trump administration.
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"Maybe I should", DeVos said.
STAHL: Have the public schools in MI gotten better?
Thankfully, DeVos is doing all she can to combat this noxious scourge of people going to school.
Instead, one stunningly flat-footed exchange went viral nearly immediately, calling into question her knowledge about public schools, school choice and the very agency she leads. "CBS This Morning" posted a message on Twitter on Monday morning saying the department was defending DeVos, and that she is "quite aware" that MI "needs to do better for all students".
DEVOS: I'm not so sure exactly how that happened.
DeVOS: Michi - Yes, well, there's lots of great options and choices for students here. But I think there are a lot of really powerful forces allied against change. She comes across as largely out of touch with the problems plaguing the education system in the country. Due to the uncertainty, public debate could continue as DeVos' Education Department continues its pro-school choice agenda to the dismay of opponents like the NEA.
STAHL: Yeah, but are they the same? How can she not have an opinion on whether sexual assault and false accusations are the same? It's worth noting that during DeVos's confirmation hearing before the Senate education committee in January 2017, she said, "I believe there is a lot that has gone right in Detroit and MI with regard to charter schools." Sen. Like, you don't have to necessarily agree with her but at least she should have a thought about all of this, right? When Stahl presented her with evidence to the contrary, DeVos shrugged it off. If she truly doesn't know the answers to the questions Stahl asked her - or has no opinions about things she absolutely should have opinions on - well, then that is even more worrisome.