Betsy DeVos Says She's 'Misunderstood,' Then Struggles To Explain Her Own Policies

Betsy DeVos Says She's 'Misunderstood,' Then Struggles To Explain Her Own Policies

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said she has not visited schools that are "underperforming" and struggled to admit that schools in her home state of MI, where she has spent decades leading the charge for unregulated charter schools, are actually performing poorly. But she was backed into a corner when Stahl asked DeVos to explain how school choice has worked in Michigan, DeVos' home state. "Stahl knocked the Education Secretary at every turn, bringing up her wealth and describing the journey 'from her sheltered life in MI to her life now as a lightning rod in Washington'".

DeVos said the United States has comparatively stagnated with test scores, pivoting again to school choice as the solution.

DEVOS: Yes, well, there's lots of great options and choices for students here.

"Have the public schools in MI gotten better?" the "60 Minutes" journalist asked.

Asked if the two were the same, DeVos remarked, "I don't know". Overall, I - I can't say overall that they have all gotten better. The result, as Lesley Stahl pointed out to DeVos, is that struggling public schools can fall even further behind as their funding is gutted by departing students.

'I don't know. Overall, I, I can't say overall that they have all gotten better, ' DeVos responded.

And it didn't end there.

Stahl asked: "Have you seen the really bad schools?"

"Here's what we shared with '60 Minutes, ' which of course they didn't show you: MI, like much of the nation, isn't doing well enough to prepare students".

"Maybe I should, yes". "There is no doubt about it", she continued, admitting that she does not "intentionally (visit) schools that are underperforming".

"Maybe you should", Stahl shot back.

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She also avoided answering a question whether disproportionate discipline for the same infraction was a form institutional racism.

DEVOS: I'm not so sure exactly how that happened. "I think probably there, I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools to protect from potential grizzlies", she had said.

On Friday, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law a gun control bill that was passed by the state's legislature.

DEVOS: Sometimes it does.

Stahl asked DeVos about her decision past year to rescind Obama-era Title IX guidelines on how schools should handle sexual assault allegations.

In an interview Monday, Devos depicted the plan to be widely bipartisan and the "first step in a more lengthy process".

"Arguably, all of these issues or all of this issue comes down to individual kids", Devos said, to which Stahl replied, "Well, no ... it's not".

STAHL: Are you in any way, do you think, suggesting that the number of false accusations are as high as the number of actual rapes or assaults?

Title IX is a federal law protecting students and school employees from gender-based discrimination, including sexual harassment and assault.

Last January, DeVos struggled with some basic questions in her Senate confirmation hearing, and she has kept a relatively low media profile ever since.

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