Secretary Betsy DeVos testified before Congress yesterday and struggled to defend her department’s disastrous policies. In her two years as Education Secretary, DeVos has dismantled protections for students, attacked teachers’ unions, and made quality higher education less affordable. Yesterday, Democrats made her answer for it.
DeVos admitted she knew the risks of rescinding protections for transgender students — but did it anyway.
Newsweek: “Representative Suzanne Bonamici, an Oregon Democrat, pressed DeVos on how her department was protecting transgender students from discrimination since the revocation of the 2016 protections… Bonamici then asked DeVos if she knew about a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics that revealed ‘alarming levels’ of attempted suicide among transgender youths when she rolled back the guidance. ‘I’m aware of that data,’ DeVos responded.”
DeVos was unable to defend her decisions to undermine state-level enforcement of student loan companies who deceived borrowers or misused funds.
Detroit News: “Several lawmakers questioned why DeVos has made it harder for states to police the companies responsible for millions of dollars in student loan contracts. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Connecticut, ripped into the secretary over the poor performance of the loan servicers, noting the department’s internal watchdog had found 61 percent non-compliance in basic functions such as not recording payments from student borrowers and reporting them to credit agencies inaccurately. ‘Not only are we seeing this kind of batting average by the department regulating loan servicers, but under your leadership you’ve taken numerous steps to undermine state enforcement of student borrower protections,’ Courtney said.”
True to form, DeVos continued her unrelenting attacks on teachers’ unions.
Detroit News: “Norcross demanded to know why free-market groups supported financially by the DeVos family have since backed campaigns trying to persuade teachers to quit their unions. ‘In reality, teachers are being targeted, spammed, coerced by groups such as the Mackinac Center for Public Policy — that you probably know something about — and from the Freedom Foundation,’ Norcross said. ‘If teachers are choosing to join unions — why the two foundations that you’re family’s associated with are the top givers to those groups that are trying to get people to leave? … Why would you do that?’ ‘Congressman, I’m an advocate for freedom across the board,’ DeVos said before launching into a pitch about a proposal to help teachers with professional development.”
Detroit News: “‘So do you believe in that teachers should have the ability to join a union?’ Norcross said. ‘Clearly, they should,’ DeVos replied, ‘And they should have the ability to not if they decide not to.’ Norcross continued to press DeVos on whether she believes in supporting foundations that ‘coerce’ teachers to drop out of their union.”
As for the affirmative action guidance her department rolled back last summer? DeVos says she’s “not familiar.”
Politico: “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told a House panel Wednesday that she is ‘not familiar’ with affirmative action guidance for schools that the Trump administration rescinded last summer, or with a major Supreme Court ruling on which portions of the guidance were based. The administration in July rescinded several guidance documents issued by the Education and Justice departments under the Obama administration that called on school superintendents and colleges to consider race when diversifying their campuses.”