Betsy Devos, the 11th U.S Secretary of Education, was appointed and assumed the position on February 7, 2017. After one year in office, she sat down on Sunday to conduct an interview with CBS 60 Minutes veteran journalist Lesley Stahl to discuss her nomination and current initiatives on education.
According to the Washington Post, Throughout the interview, Stahl asked pointed questions to Devos. For example, Stahl suggested that the Secretary of Education should visit public schools that are underperforming. In other words, by visiting a struggling school, she would learn more about their struggles and challenges. Devos responded, “Maybe I should.”
In the midst of answering questions, Devos said she was not sure how she became “the most hated” member of President Trump’s cabinet. She clarified with an answer and stated that perhaps she was misunderstood in what she was trying to accomplish.
The Post analysis highlights not only were the questions pointed, but Devos could not answer certain questions during the interview. For instance, when asked about sexual assault, she could not say whether the number of false accusations was lower than the number of actual rapes or assaults.
In the same way, when Devos was asked about arming teachers, she responded with it “should be an option” for the states and communities. On the other hand, she admitted that she could not ever imagine her first-grade teacher having a gun.
As reported by The Hill, when Devos visited Harvard University, she faced a silent protest there. In addition, the Washington Times reported on the time when Devos gave a commencement speech at the University of Baltimore, and students stood up and turned her back on her.
Devos has kept a low profile and made few appearances on television until this recent interview. She has been a firm advocate of school choice as part of her education platform. The New York Times article mentioned Devos as a proponent of deregulation in education.
“School choice is the centerpiece of Ms. DeVos’s education platform. She has spent most of her professional life fighting for loosening the federal government’s grip on public education while promoting parochial and charter schools in Michigan — many of which her family has bankrolled.”
After the school shooting in Florida, Devos is expanding her portfolio. She will be leading a new Federal Commission on School Safety. Overall, Devos struggled to answer basic questions that pertained to schools in her home state. A CNN news post characterized her performance as “alarmed” to answer basic questions. Furthermore, she was not able to defend the administrations’ newly proposed safety measures.