DeVos disregards poor public schools

Betsy DeVos’ March 11 interview on 60 Minutes with Lesley Stahl has stirred up outcry over her controversial position as secretary of education. Criticisms revolved around DeVos’ perceived ignorance and lack of intrust toward public schools in the United States as she indirectly answered Stahl’s questions. When asked by Stahl about allocation of funds, DeVos argued for “investing in students” rather than “school buildings." After a lot of prompting, DeVos admitted that she had not “intentionally visited” any “underperforming” schools in Michigan, her home state.

DeVos’ statement was an unsettling revelation in the context of education disparity in the United States. Reports from The Washington Post have uncovered instances of mold, mildew, water damage and lead exposure in Detroit schools, but DeVos has neglected to visit these school buildings. Funding depends on district income taxes, which can limit both access to opportunities and the priority received from the government. Though DeVos makes a case for students, she cannot effectively do her job unless she visits institutions and gains firsthand experience. She cannot represent students unless she interacts with them, considering that children’s voices are relatively muted by their school administrations. DeVos is responsible for taking appropriate measures to both understand and address problems in public educational institutions for the sake of students nationwide.