As the White House prepares to endorse President Trump’s proposals on school safety, the education secretary re-entered the limelight she’s largely avoided since her disastrous January 2017 confirmation hearing. Sitting across from 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl, DeVos stumbled on a string of basic questions pertaining to her job, including how schools are faring in her home state of Michigan.
The interview started on an expected note, with DeVos explaining why arming teachers is “an option” for combating school shootings. But then her talking points wore thin. After DeVos said the government had invested billions in public education and had “seen zero results,” Stahl pushed back. “That really isn’t true,” Stahl said, citing the fact that test scores have improved over the last 25 years.
DeVos was at sea over the issue of discriminatory discipline, despite her department’s consideration of rescinding Obama-era guidelines that work to make sure students of color don’t get punished more harshly for the same infraction as their white peers. When asked if the schools in her home state of Michigan had gotten better under a Republican program to privatize the system, she said she “didn’t know.” (They haven’t.)
“Have you seen the really bad schools?” Stahl asked.
“I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming,” DeVos said.
“Maybe you should,” Stahl replied.
And when Stahl asked DeVos whether or not she thinks the number of sexual assaults on college campuses equals the number of false accusations, she claimed she didn’t know—despite rescinding the Obama-era Title IX guidelines this fall, on the basis of giving more of a voice to the accused.