100 Days Report Card: DeVos, Betsy

Secretary DeVos was confirmed as Education Secretary on February 7, 2017. She has had a tumultuous first 100 days in office to say the least. It has been hard to keep up with the gaffes, insults and harmful policies that have emerged from her Department of Education but we thought we’d try to evaluate her first 100 days in a way that seemed fitting. Here is a brief report card reviewing just some of the highlights from the first 100 days of DeVos.

Supporting teachers and students — F

DeVos has supported the draconian Trump budget that makes drastic cuts to education, including critical after-school programs, teacher training and higher-ed programs.

During one of her only school visits to a public school as Secretary, DeVos insulted countless hard working teachers by claiming they were just in “receive mode” and “waiting to be told what they have to do.”

DeVos remained silent while Congress used the obscure “Congressional Review Act” to gut ESSA accountability standards that would have helped “identify struggling schools and students.”

DeVos failed to help students when a critical resource for financial aid and loan repayment was shut down, the Administration withdrew measures to protect struggling student loan borrowers, and DeVos endangered students by appointing for-profit college officials to top positions.

She unironically posed for a photo op with Ivanka Trump to promote women in STEM. They screened Hidden Figures, a film about African American women scientists and mathematicians, while the administration announced plans to zero out critical programs that supports girls and minorities in STEM.

Protecting vulnerable students and communities — F

DeVos went along with the Trump and Sessions’ shameful effort to tear away much needed protections for transgender children.

DeVos installed the highly unqualified and extreme, Candice Jackson to head up the Office of Civil Rights, the office responsible for ensuring schools and districts adequately protect marginalized students and communities.

After fumbling on questions about IDEA during her confirmation hearing, DeVos’ Department of Education allowed the IDEA website to be down for an extended period, and instead of taking responsibility she shifted blame onto the previous administration.

She has slashed the Obama-Era anti-segregation grant program.

Possessing the basic level of background knowledge and skills for the office — F

In a statement prior to the administration’s photo op with heads of HBCUs, DeVos called HBCUs, “pioneers” of “school choice,” seeming to ignore or downplay the well documented shameful history of Jim Crow segregation in the South.

Her social accounts, official statements and Op-Eds have been riddled with, gaffes, inaccuracies, typos and sloppy metaphors — following her pattern however, these gaffes have mostly been blamed on her staff rather than her taking responsibility.

We don’t know what else is to come over the next 100 days but we will be right here to continue to hold DeVos and the Department accountable.

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