In February, Betsy Devos rankled feathers when she met with Historically Black College and University leaders, then released a statement arguing that HBCUs were “pioneers when it came to school choice.” Following the statement, critics accused Devos of whitewashing history with her statements, and the graduating class of Bethune Cookman College booed her when she delivered a commencement speech.
In a Wednesday interview with the Associated Press, Devos backtracked on these comments, Bloomberg reports. She admits that she “should have decried much more forcefully the ravages of racism in this country.”
She emphasized that HBCUs were developed because of Jim Crow segregation. Despite a surface nod to racism’s “ravages,” DeVos’s policies are more coherent than her public speaking. She has rolled back civil rights protections enforced during the Obama presidency, cutting positions and naming a civil rights department head who once accused her university of discriminating against he because she was White. Devos claims that for decades, her “heart has been” with minority children, and the billionaire claims that she wants all children to have the same opportunities her kids had. Her advocacy disagrees with her heart.
The American Federation of Teachers considers Devos’s promotion of “school choice” a sly ploy to (further) segregate American schools. When interviewed Wednesday, Devos’s told reporters that privatization gives poor and minority parents alternatives to a “K-12 system that is not preparing [students] for beyond.”
Well, it took her long enough. But, you know, privilege.