Published: Sun, February 26, 2017
Markets | By Lucia Cruz

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos delivers sharp criticism to professors

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos delivers sharp criticism to professors

The dust-up preceded yesterday's announcement that the administration intends to roll back federal antidiscrimination protections for transgender students in public schools, a petty, cruel move that the White House cravenly couched as a "states' rights" issue to downplay the fact that their decision willfully does harm to children.

The report was honest enough to offer a plausible explanation for that failure-the grants not only delivered money, but delivered specific instructions for how the money would be spent, instructions dictated by the folks in D.C. The Times further reports that Trump sided with Sessions in the debate over protecting transgender students and the two pressured DeVos into complying with them.

Many have also pointed to her past comments that suggest she wants to use the US education system to advance a Christian agenda and build "God's kingdom".

During her opening remarks at CPAC, DeVos acknowledged that the "media has had its fun with me". "Now this is not an indictment of teachers", she added.

On Dec. 8, Valerie Strauss of The Washington Post wrote about DeVos and her work in attempting to privatize public education.

"It's our job to protect students", she repeated Thursday. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that the amount of public school students living in poverty rose from 17 percent to 22 percent between 2000 and 2013.

Obama's guidelines, issued last May, ordered schools nationwide to permit transgender students to choose the bathroom they prefer without restriction.

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"If a kid is coming up to graduation time and they're not on track to graduate, we see a number of those same kids leaving the San Diego Unified schools and going to these credit-recovery high schools", he said. Combined with the vested interests opposed to education reform, vociferous opposition to DeVos was understandable, but a failure for Democrats to serve their base by prioritizing opposition to the biggest dangers to their platform.

DeVos said her top priorities include returning power in education back to parents, communities and states, expanding school choice, and encouraging free speech on college campuses.

That philosophy, she said, is reflected in the nation's new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaces the No Child Left Behind Act.

According to a 2015 survey by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, transgender students experience "a more hostile school climate than all other students", including gay, lesbian, and bisexual students who identify as cisgender or genderqueer. The campaign is created to encourage and aid the filing of complaints concerning school anti-transgender discrimination with the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.

DeVos, however, has come under fire from LGBT groups for dropping federal guidance - issued during the Obama administration - that directed schools to grant transgender students access to restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.

I also agree with Betsy DeVos that we must do more to make college education more affordable.

On Wednesday evening, Mr. Trump rescinded Mr. Obama's directive to protect transgender students and subsequently issued his own guidelines for Title IX interpretation.

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