REMINDER: Betsy DeVos Helped Donald Trump Carry Out His Assault on America’s Public Education System, and He’s Vowing to Go Even Further in a Second Term

As we mark seven years since Betsy DeVos’s confirmation as Donald Trump’s education secretary, DNC Rapid Response Director Alex Floyd released the following statement: 

“Betsy DeVos helped lead Donald Trump’s all-out assault on America’s public education system – putting students last and attacking public schools and hardworking teachers. After DeVos spent years undermining the department she was supposed to be running, Trump is now campaigning on taking his extreme education agenda even further by abolishing the Department of Education, putting more guns in classrooms, and leaving those struggling under student debt without relief. Everyday families cannot afford to let Trump get back in charge of America’s education system, and they won’t let him or DeVos get the chance this November.”

DeVos worked with Trump to undermine America’s public education system – DeVos repeatedly insulted public schools and teachers despite being extremely unqualified for the education secretary position. 

The Guardian: “Since taking office, [DeVos] has proposed billions of dollars in cuts to her own department, hitting class size reductions, after-school programmes, full-service community schools and student loan forgiveness.”

Washington Post“More than $1 billion would be spent on private school vouchers and other school choice plans under the budget proposal released Monday by President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The proposal also calls for slashing the Education Department’s budget and devoting more resources to career training, at the expense of four-year colleges and universities. The proposal would cut $3.6 billion — about 5 percent — from the Education Department by eliminating several discretionary programs, including one that funds after-school activities for needy children and another that covers teacher training.”

Education Week: “DeVos Would Be First Ed. Sec. Who Hasn’t Been A Public School Parent or Student.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “After school trip, Betsy DeVos insults teachers for their ‘receive mode’”

Fox61: “Ed. Secretary DeVos calls out East Hartford schools as ‘a dangerous daycare’”

Trump and DeVos both now want to abolish the Department of Education entirely.

Trump: “One other thing I’ll be doing very early in the administration is closing up the Department of Education.”

Washington Times: “Trump plans to abolish U.S. Education Department if elected”

USA Today: “Ex-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says the Department of Education ‘should not exist’”

Trump and DeVos worked to limit student loan forgiveness and weakened protections for Americans defrauded by for-profit schools – prioritizing greedy corporations over students.

Politico: “DeVos tightens rules for forgiving student loans”

“Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Friday finalized rules that make it more difficult for federal student loan borrowers to cancel their debt on the grounds that their college defrauded them, scaling back an Obama-era policy aimed at abuses by for-profit colleges.”

Politico: “Trump and DeVos fuel a for-profit college comeback”

New York Times: “A DeVos System Allowed 12 Minutes to Decide Student Loan Forgiveness”

“Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made no secret of her disdain for a program intended to forgive the federal student loans of borrowers who were ripped off by schools that defrauded their students. She called it a ‘free money’ giveaway, let hundreds of thousands of claims languish for years and slashed the amount of relief granted to some successful applicants to $0. … In Ms. DeVos’s final year in office, her agency denied nearly 130,000 claims — far surpassing the 9,000 rejections in the prior five years — with a system that pressured workers to speed through applications in a matter of minutes, according to internal Education Department documents filed in federal court.”

Trump has a long record of opposing student loan relief, including taking credit for blocking and railing against President Biden’s efforts to address the student loan debt crisis.

CNBC: “Former President Donald Trump… has a long record of opposing student loan forgiveness.”

USA Today“[Trump] has not mentioned deferring student loan payments or terminating payroll tax as part of his 2024 presidential campaign…. Neither issue is mentioned anywhere on Trump’s 2024 campaign website, and it is unlikely either will become part of his campaign plan.”

Trump campaign press release: “Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down massive wins for the American people— halting Joe Biden’s unconstitutional student loan gimmick… One thing is clear: these wins were only made possible through President Trump’s strong nomination of three distinguished and courageous jurists to the Supreme Court.”

Politico“Trump administration tries to hamstring Biden on student loan forgiveness”

“The Trump administration on Wednesday sought to throw up a bureaucratic roadblock to progressives’ push for the incoming Biden administration to cancel large swaths of outstanding student loan debt through executive action.”

DeVos suggested guns needed to be in schools because of grizzly bear attacks and then led a school safety commission that played down the role of guns in school shootings.

ABC News: “Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary, raised eyebrows during her confirmation hearing by refusing to say guns shouldn’t be in schools and quipping that in one case in Wyoming, they would help protect against grizzly bears.”

Time: “Trump’s Education Secretary Says School Safety Commission Won’t Look at Role of Guns in School Shootings”

New York Times: “Trump Administration Report on School Safety Plays Down Role of Guns”

Washington Post: “President Trump’s Federal Commission on School Safety, formed after a mass shooting at a Florida high school, recommended Tuesday that school systems consider arming personnel and advised against increasing the minimum age required for gun purchases.”

Trump is promising to use taxpayer dollars to give guns to teachers.

Associated Press: “Trump calls for arming teachers at NRA convention”

NBC News: “[Trump] said that he would establish a tax credit to subsidize gun purchases and training for teachers.”

Trump and DeVos shamefully went after protections for transgender students.

Washington Post: “Trump administration rolls back protections for transgender students”

DeVos and Trump rolled back efforts to reduce racial bias in schools, and DeVos expressed extreme ignorance about HBCUs.

Washington Post: “Trump administration revokes effort to reduce racial bias in school discipline”

CNN: “Supporters of historically black colleges and universities say US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos needs a history lesson after calling schools created in response to racial segregation ‘pioneers’ of school choice.”

DeVos: “HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice. They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality.”

Trump’s MAGA allies have devised a plan for Trump to phase out billions for low-income schools through Title I funding, which Trump proposed redirecting while in office.

Project 2025 calls for phasing out Title I education funding over a ten-year period, eventually placing responsibility on states to determine “how to provide a quality education to children from low-income families.”

Brookings“Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) directs funds to local school districts as a function of the number or percentage of economically disadvantaged children living in the district.”

Los Angeles Times“The Trump administration is proposing to use $1 billion in Title I money to pay for a new school-choice program. The $550-million increase in Title I that a recent budget deal gave states would be cut from their shares of the regularly scheduled funding formula moving forward.”