Here’s Every Move Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Made In May

Each month Schooled will give a rundown of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s actions. This is the rundown for May 2017
Donald Trump applauds as Betsy DeVos speaks at Trump’s “Thank You USA” rally in Grand Rapids, December 9, 2016. (Reuters/Mike Segar)

Donald Trump applauds as Betsy DeVos speaks at Trump’s “Thank You USA” rally in Grand Rapids, December 9, 2016. (Reuters/Mike Segar)

With the 2018 budget announcement made, the plan revealed, and headed to Congress, the overwhelming dissatisfaction with Secretary DeVos and the Trump administration’s position on public education continues to rear it’s ugly head in political discourse.

Here’s a breakdown of everything DeVos did in May:

May 10

Secretary DeVos gave the commencement address at HBCU institution, Bethune-Cookman University, to a less than warm audience. Facing occasional heckling, booing, and even a few sections of students with their backs completely turned to the Secretary, DeVos carried on with her speech.

“One of the hallmarks of higher education, and of democracy, is the ability to converse with and learn from those with whom we disagree. And while we will undoubtedly disagree at times, I hope we can do so respectfully. Let’s choose to hear each other out.” — Secretary DeVos at Bethune-Cookman University commencement

Her reception should come as no surprise — in the days leading up to commencement, many local residents and students in the Daytona Beach area made their displeasure with her and her policies clear with signs and protests.

Albeit a rambunctious way to welcome a guest, much less a commencement speaker, it is a wonder the university thought it prudent to even invite her to speak.

May 17

Initial rumblings of what the proposed 2018 budget would look like began to circulate. The budget promised deeper cuts than initially thought after the budget blueprint was released in March.

May 23

The proposed 2018 budget heading to the House of Representatives was unveiled with frustration and anger from both sides of the aisle. The federal education budget would be slashed by 13.5%/$9.2 billion. It is a budget that is very unlikely to pass the House — as cuts that deep into the education budget tend to garner little favor — but a budget that shows a near disdain for public education.

May 24

In a Congressional hearing, Secretary DeVos was asked by Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) how she would respond to a state receiving federal funds withholding admission to students from the LGBT community. Unable to give a clear answer for a few rounds of questioning, it was eventually revealed that Secretary DeVos does not deem it necessary for federal intervention in the case of a student discrimination.

With a restructuring of the budget ahead before the summer recess begins at the end of July, there is a lot of work ahead for the House.

In her barely four months in public office, she has made us all question why she would even want this job: She is woefully unprepared for the task at hand and has an increasingly difficult time answering the simplest of questions. Her personal distaste for public education and lack of support for the system which educates the majority of students shows in her every decision, infuriating parents and teachers alike.

The indifference Secretary DeVos has shown to the students at the highest risk of discrimination: the LGBT community, persons of color, and the disabled is shocking. Her policies and allegiances do not speak of someone who holds high regard for the history of public education. She certainly does not hold, in any regard, the strides marginalized communities have made in order to receive the education and services they have fought to obtain.

If her apathy is a direct result of needing to give the states agency, perhaps she should think about how the redivision of education will shape the future of our country. A refresher on Brown v. Board of Education and San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez may do the Secretary some good.

Schooled // Betsy Devos / Education / Education Reform / Politics