Stories

DeVos struggles to answer questions about school choice

Interviewed on 60 Minutes, Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos was unable to provide answers when asked for evidence to back up her school choice policies in her home state of Michigan.

Transcript:

  • Lesley Stahl: Why take money away from that school that's not working to bring them up to a level where they are — where that school is working?
  • Betsy DeVos: Well, we should be funding and investing in students. Not in school — school buildings, not in institutions, not in systems.
  • Stahl: Okay, but what about the kids who are back at the school that's not working? What about those kids?
  • DeVos: In places where a lot of choice has been introduced — Florida for example — the studies show when there's a large number of students that opt to go to a different school or different schools, the traditional public schools, actually, the results get better as well.
  • Stahl Now, has that happened in Michigan? We're in Michigan. This is your home state.
  • DeVos: Yes! Well, there's lots of great options and choices for students here.
  • Stahl: Have the public schools in Michigan have gotten better?
  • DeVos: I don't know, overall, I can't say overall that they have all gotten better.
  • Stahl: The whole state is not doing well.
  • DeVos: Well, there are certainly lots of pockets where the students are doing well.
  • Stahl: Yeah, but your argument that if you take the funds away that the schools will get better is not working in Michigan, where you had a huge impact and influence over the direction of the school system here.
  • DeVos: I hesitate to talk about all schools in general because schools are made up of individual students attending them.
  • Stahl: The public schools here are doing worse than they did.
  • DeVos: Michigan schools need to do better. There is no doubt about it.
  • Stahl: Have you seen the really bad schools? Maybe try to figure out what they're doing?
  • DeVos: I have not — I have not — I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.
  • Stahl: Maybe you should.
  • DeVos: Maybe I should, yes.