Education Secretary Betsy DeVos struggles to answer basic questions about education on ’60 Minutes’ – and White House isn’t sure Trump was able to make it through the whole interview
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos struggled her way through an interview with ’60 Minutes’ as she tried to pitch her school choice positions and admitted she hadn’t deliberately visited underperforming schools.
Her halting answers prompted questions about the interview at Monday’s White House press briefing.
‘I’m not sure if he saw the whole thing or not,’ said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, when asked if Trump had seen it.
Asked if he had seen it, Sanders focused on DeVos’ answers about gun policy, then said: ‘That’s the focus of the president, not one or two interviews but on actual policy.’
The controversial cabinet member from Michigan had trouble explaining poor school performance in her home state despite her own multi-million contributions to programs that support vouchers for public as well as private and religious schools.
At one point she even admitted to correspondent Leslie Stahl that ”I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.’
‘Have the public schools in Michigan gotten better?’ Stahl asked her during one exchange.
‘I don’t know. Overall, I, I can’t say overall that they have all gotten better,’ DeVos responded.
‘The whole state is not doing well,’ said Stahl, speaking to DeVos in her home state.
‘Well, there are certainly lots of pockets where this, the students are doing well,’ she responded.
‘I hesitate to talk about all schools in general because schools are made up of individual students attending them,’ Stahl said at one point, notwithstanding her agency’s mission of improving education nationally.
‘Michigan schools need to do better. There is no doubt about it,’ she said.
‘Have you seen the really bad schools? Maybe try to figure out what they’re doing?’ Stahl asked, continuing to press her.
‘I have not, I have not, I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming,’ she said.
‘Maybe you should,’ volunteered Stahl.
‘Maybe I should. Yes,’ DeVos responded.
Her performance got panned in multiple media outlets.
Stahl also got asked about administration changes to Title IX rules that make it harder for accusers to prove accusations charging sexual assault, the Washington Post noted.
‘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?’ Stahl asked.
‘Well, one sexual assault is one too many, and one falsely accused individual is one too many,’ DeVos responded.
‘Yeah, but are they the same?’ the interviewer pressed.
‘I don’t know. I don’t know. But I’m committed to a process that’s fair for everyone involved,’ said DeVos.
Asked about the Trump administration’s proposal to let teachers carry concealed weapons, she responded:
‘That should be an option for states and communities to consider. And I hesitate to think of, like, my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Zorhoff, I couldn’t ever imagine her having a gun and being trained in that way,’ DeVos said.
‘But for those who are– who are capable, this is one solution that can and should be considered. But no one size fits all. Every state and every community is going to address this issue in a different way,’ she added.
in another appearance on NBC’s ‘Today’ show, DeVos got asked about school safety.
Although the new White House proposal that came out today pointedly does not include an idea pitched by President Trump to raise the minimum age to buy certain guns, DeVos said ‘everything is on the table.’
‘The plan is a first step in a more lengthy process,’ she said.
‘I don’t think assault weapons carried in schools carried by any school personnel is the appropriate thing,’ she said, asked whether teachers should be allowed to carry assault weapons.
‘But again, I think this is an issue that is best decided at the local level by communities and by states,’ said DeVos, who is chairing a school safety commission.
The president has called for giving teachers concealed carry permits, but not necessarily assault weapons.
Written by Geoff Earle, Deputy U.S. Political Editor for The Daily Mail ~ March 12, 2018
FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U. S. C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml