Education Secretary Betsy DeVos received a rude reception Thursday at Harvard University, where students interrupted her speech, raised fists and held up protest signs.
Ms. DeVos had to wait while students laughed and clapped after she said, “More funding? Does that solve the problem?” prompting someone to reply “yes,” as shown in a video posted by New England Cable News.
Several students were escorted from the venue at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government for holding up signs during her speech with the messages “White Supremacist” and “Our Students Are Not 4 Sale.”
Other protesters were permitted to stay, where they quietly raised fists and displayed banners saying “Dark Money,” “Our Harvard Can Do Better,” and “Educational Justice is Racial Justice.”
Ms. DeVos delivered the keynote address at the “JFK Jr. Forum: A conversation on empowering parents,” sponsored by the school’s Institute on Politics.
Outside, protesters rallied and waved “Dump DeVos” signs handed out by the pro-union Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance.
Ms. DeVos defended her school-choice agenda, pointing out that the students in attendance made a decision to attend Harvard instead of state universities.
“When you chose to attend Harvard, did anyone suggest you were against public universities?” she asked in her prepared remarks. “No, you and your family sat down and figured out which education environment would be the best fit for you. You compared options, and made an informed decision.”
Ms. Devos said the focus should be “on the ends, not the means.”
“No one seems to criticize that choice,” Ms. Devos said. “No one thinks choice in higher education is wrong. So why is it wrong in elementary, middle, or high school?”