On CBS 60 Minutes on Sunday evening, interviewer Lesley Stahl pointed out to DeVos that despite her having had a huge influence over school policy in her home state, Michigan, the performance of public schools there is declining.
Reading standards in MI schools have declined rapidly in the past three years, according to a report published last week by Education Trust-Midwest, a non-partisan research and advocacy organization. But, when tested about her own state, the math didn't add up. "Many of these high performing schools are traditional public schools that have challenged the status quo and dared to do something different on behalf of their students - many where teachers are empowered in the classroom to find what works best for students".
Betsy DeVos: I have not- I have not- I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.
In one exchange, DeVos, who has slammed America's public schools as severely underperforming, said she hasn't "intentionally" visited such schools in her home state of MI.
DeVos: Maybe I should, yes.
This is the case in DeVos' home state of MI, where the public school system has been ravaged by school choice. "And are committed to making sure students have opportunity to learn in safe and nurturing environments".
Stahl: Okay. But what about the kids who are back at the school that's not working?
DeVos' passion for school and community choice also transferred into how she views school safety.
'Maybe you should, ' volunteered Stahl.
"It does come down to individual kids ..."
'Well, there are certainly lots of pockets where this, the students are doing well, ' she responded.
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She also avoided answering a question whether disproportionate discipline for the same infraction was a form institutional racism.
After DeVos said that "billions and billions and billions" of dollars have been invested in public schools with "zero results", Stahl noted that test scores have risen over the last 25 years. However, DeVos thinks those numbers are not necessarily reflective of her strategy.
Her halting answers prompted questions about the interview at Monday's White House press briefing. She would not commit to continuing to require that the data be submitted.
DeVos, however, did not seem concerned by that prospect. "They just got the numbers wrong". "Please remember what Michelle Obama said about when they go low". After taking office, she described historically black universities and colleges, founded in response to segregation, as "pioneers when it comes to school choice". And one year later, DeVos still has no idea what she's talking about, if last night's sit-down with 60 Minutes is any indication.
"Well one sexual assault is one too many".
"But are they the same?"
It's easy to give DeVos grief for not being better prepared, but that's not entirely fair.
Erin Tuttle, a parent activist from IN and a co-author of the book Deconstructing the Administrative State: The Fight for Liberty, notes to Breitbart News, "As Secretary of Education, it's DeVos's job to make the case to the American people on the need to reverse the Obama-era guidance on school discipline policies referenced by Stahl".
'Yeah, but are they the same?' the interviewer pressed.
When pushed by Stahl to answer if the numbers between false accusations and assaults were the same, however, DeVos said she didn't know.