On Sunday night, "60 Minutes” aired their interview with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. It was a great night for their correspondent, Lesley Stahl, who pressed DeVos on several important topics like school safety and DeVos’s plans to fix underperforming schools.
Her rapid fire follow-up questions revealed that DeVos knew little about what was going on in the schools in her own state, let alone the rest of the country.
DeVos has a major problem when it comes to advocacy for charter schools. The interview showed that she had no more solid arguments for her cause than when she first took the job. CNN pointed out that DeVos had no idea if school choice – her proposed plan to let parents move their children to higher-performing schools – had any effect on the children in her home state of Michigan.
Since she didn’t know about what was going on in the lives of the students in her backyard, of course she didn’t know what students in Florida have been demanding since the tragic massacre at their school last month: gun control.
So far, she looks like she’s talking about taking action but not actually moving those plans forward. Perhaps the biggest exception to her inaction is her handling of sexual assault on college campus. The cause near and dear to her heart sets President Obama-era protections for victims back considerably for fear they were ruining the lives of the accused.
DeVos retreated to her favorite refrain, “I don’t know.”
It’s vital to know where DeVos stands for several reasons. She has the power to affect change that will affect a generation of students. The policies that she helps to craft and implement may have ramifications for decades after she leaves her post.
It’s frustrating to watch someone with the power of her position dance around questions about school shootings and sexual assault. No one is off the hook to ignore what DeVos is threatening.