Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Betsy DeVos Struggles To Answer Simple Questions In '60 Minutes' Interview

Betsy DeVos Struggles To Answer Simple Questions In '60 Minutes' Interview

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos - who has been on the job more than a year - has been taking extensive criticism over an interview Sunday night on "60 Minutes" during which she appeared to stumble over answers.

DeVos' spokeswoman Liz Hill said that the secretary's focus was on promoting successful innovation, including in traditional public schools.

Devos said she will head a commission created to explore ways to protect schools from gun violence, and push for a broader approach to deal with the problem.

"I had never watched "60 Minutes" before, but I can tell you this, I will never watch it again", the Education Secretary said.

According to a report by Education Trust-Midwest, schools in MI have experienced major declines in third-grade reading levels.

Lesley Stahl: The public schools here are doing worse than they did.

DeVos struggled to answer basic questions about school performance and was unable to to provide accurate information or data to defend some of the controversial programs she has championed - including a plan that she claims will improve public schools by cutting their funding. There is no doubt about it.

"They want gun control", Stahl responded.

Betsy DeVos: Maybe I should. Yes. "I don't know. Overall, I- I can't say overall that they have all gotten better." she said. DeVos said she was committed to "making sure students have opportunity to learn in safe and nurturing environments".

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DeVos expounded during a March 12 appearance on Today, saying in reference to guns that "schools should have this tool", while noting that "we have to get much broader than talking about guns".

These findings position MI among the highest performing charter school states CREDO has studied to date.

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

Later in the interview, in a question about the months-long Me Too movement against sexual harassment and assault carried out by men in positions of power, Stahl asked DeVos if she had ever previously encountered such behavior.

"Michigan schools need to do better".

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. "I think probably there, I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools to protect from potential grizzlies", she had said.

"She asked me one thing about schools, and then another, and another", she said.

Speaking to DeVos, Stahl compared situations in which white kids are punished for classroom disruption by a trip to the principal's office, while for black kids, "they call in the cops".

"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". The department also introduced an interim guidance that replaced the suggested 60-day timeframe for prompt investigations with "no fixed time frame" and allowed colleges to decide to force survivors to "work things out" with the accused.

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