Milbank: Betsy DeVos interview on '60 Minutes' mocked as disastrous

Milbank: Betsy DeVos interview on '60 Minutes' mocked as disastrous

Milbank: Betsy DeVos interview on '60 Minutes' mocked as disastrous

During her confirmation hearing past year, she was utterly defeated by complex subjects such as "teachers" and "students" but was certain that schools need guns to repel attacks by "potential grizzlies". "She should not be in this job", tweeted Sen.

The tweet linked to a viral clip of DeVos' much-pilloried Sunday interview on "60 Minutes".

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos stumbled through a series of high-profile television interviews recently, in which she appeared unable to explain or defend several of her department's key policies.

President Donald Trump has asked DeVos to lead a new Federal Commission on School Safety in reference to the recent mass school shootings. She then admitted she has not "intentionally" visited any underperforming schools in her home state. She and her family have for decades been intimately involved in the state's education scene, and they were instrumental in changes around charter schools that preceded our long slide to the bottom of the national educational rankings.

One of the most controversial members of President Donald Trump's cabinet, DeVos has always been an aggressive advocate for school choice, particularly in her home state of MI, where she's poured significant funds into the effort to redirect government funding from public schools to private and charter schools, the majority of which are Christian.

Stahl mentioned MI schools' poor performance, something a University of MI study appeared to confirm previous year. In fact, we've compiled the most important K-12 education metrics into a quickie issue guide: Michigan's K-12 performance dropping at an alarming rate. We understand that DeVos believes that Historically Black Colleges and Universities "were real pioneers when it comes to school choice".

Lesley Stahl: Okay. But what about the kids who are back at the school that's not working?

"I don't know. I don't know".

"It's hard for me to get mad at anyone who's in the game to try to make the lives of children better, compared to people who sit on the sidelines and point fingers, even if we disagree", said Michigan School Superintendent Brian Whiston told Bridge in December 2016.

"They want gun control", Stahl responded.

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"Well, there are certainly pockets where this - the students are doing well", DeVos said.

STAHL: Have you seen the really bad schools?

DEVOS: "I hesitate to talk about all schools in general because schools are made up of individual students attending them".

School choice: Lots of critics, including Margaret Hartmann at NY, are focusing on a part of the interview about school choice during which DeVos acknowledged she didn't know whether schools in her home state of MI were doing better.

"A 2009 study from the Rand Corp. found 'little evidence that the presence of charter schools affects the achievement scores of students in nearby traditional public schools either positively or negatively'". "There is no doubt about it".

See video below for an excerpt dealing specifically with MI schools.

Stahl: The public schools here are doing worse than they did. It was her disastrous theory of education that has already wrecked MI schools.

I appreciated that Secretary DeVos came to meet with me, but I was extremely disappointed at how the meeting went.

White House officials watched the interview, along with media appearances DeVos made on Monday morning, with dismay, two sources familiar with their reaction told CNN. Nobody mentioned the charts she cited in her tweet, comparing MI standardized test scores to national averages.

The political response to DeVos's interview has been swift and fierce, as well, with Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) tweeting that DeVos is "clearly unqualified".

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