- The Washington Times - Monday, March 12, 2018

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos pushed back Monday after being reamed by the left for her choppy “60 Minutes” interview, accusing the show of ignoring test-score data she provided beforehand and pointing to selectively edited footage.

The CBS segment implied that Ms. DeVos had no answer after she was asked at a Harvard forum how much money she would make from her school-choice policies, a clip that ended with the moderator saying, “You can choose not to answer that, Secretary.”

Ms. DeVos released the original video afterward showing that she did respond, telling the audience that she had written many checks over the years to support school choice and that “the balance on my income has gone very much the other way.”

In a testy exchange about Michigan’s school-choice programs, host Lesley Stahl told Ms. DeVos that “the whole state is not doing well” and that “your argument that if you take funds away that the schools will get better is not working in Michigan.”

Ms. DeVos later posted reports on Twitter showing that test scores have stagnated in Michigan schools, while students in Detroit charter schools “performed twice as well as those in traditional public schools,” according to Michigan Public Radio.

“The reforms are helping, but there’s so much more to do,” tweeted Ms. DeVos. “We must help all students be better prepared for strong futures.”

The damage was done, however, as Democratic lawmakers, journalists, progressives and teachers’ unions took to social media to rip Ms. DeVos, calling her uninformed, unqualified — and worse.

Rep. Jared Huffman, California Democrat, mocked her as “[r]ich, white and dumber than a bag of hammers,” while Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, said “she needs to be held accountable.”

Betsy DeVos is clearly unqualified to be in charge of such an important responsibility—the future of our kids. She should not be in this job,” tweeted Sen. Kamala Harris, California Democrat.

Her conservative defenders accused “60 Minutes” of waging a biased attack on Ms. DeVos complete with frequent references to her wealth—she’s a billionaire—and a dig at her “sheltered life in Michigan.”

“The 13 minute segment was heavy on critics who despise DeVos,” said the Media Research Center’s Scott Whitlock. “Stahl knocked the Education Secretary at every turn, bringing up her wealth and describing the journey ‘from her sheltered life in Michigan to her life now as a lightning rod in Washington.’”

Bruce Riley Ashford, provost of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, said that while Ms. DeVos “did struggle to answer some questions on the spot, the substance and tone of the criticisms are inaccurate and unfair.”

The interview ran the day before Ms. DeVos was named by President Trump to head the Federal Commission on School Safety, aimed at finding ways to combat mass shootings on campuses.

In one much-criticized exchange, Ms. Stahl asked if she had visited any “really bad schools,” and when Ms. DeVos said no, the interviewer replied, “Maybe you should.”

“Maybe I should. Yes,” said the secretary.

Ms. DeVos later released a map of her 60 school visits taken in her first year of office, noting that most of them were traditional public schools.


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