A Crash Course On DeVos' Department Of Education

Mar 5, 2019

With guest host Todd Zwillich.

Two years ago, President Donald Trump nominated billionaire Republican fundraiser Betsy DeVos to be his secretary of Education.

Her confirmation hearing took nearly four hours. Notably, DeVos defended the choice to keep guns in schools by saying that a school in Wyoming might need them to protect students from grizzly bears. (For what it’s worth, PolitiFact contacted the school district she invoked. They said they have a no-weapons policy.)

Then the Senate debated her confirmation for 30 hours, with Democrats speaking continuously in opposition through the night.

When it came to the final vote, it was a 50-50 tie. Vice President Mike Pence broke it in DeVos’ favor.

All that happened back in 2017. But what has the Department of Education been up to since then?

After the initial flurry of headlines, news from the department seems to be fairly… quiet. To date, DeVos’ department has not found itself embroiled in various scandals.

But that doesn’t mean nothing’s happened.

Prior to her role as head of the department, DeVos notably backed school choice efforts across Michigan. She recently supported a $5 billion tax credit that “would fund scholarships to private schools and other educational programs,” according to The New York Times.

We’re checking on the Department of Education.

Produced by Paige Osburn.

GUESTS

Jim Blew, Assistant secretary for planning, evaluation and policy development, U.S. Department of Education

Erica Green, Education policy reporter, The New York Times; @ELGreen

Andrew Kreighbaum, Federal policy reporter, Inside Higher Ed; @kreighbaum

Rep. Robert “Bobby” Scott, (D-Va); chairman, House Committee for Education and Labor;@BobbyScott

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

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