Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is facing a backlash from her comment that historically black colleges and universities are real pioneers when it comes to school choice. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) says she’s appalled by the statement.
“Let’s be clear what historically black colleges and universities were. It wasn’t about a choice. It was about racism. That’s where these colleges came from,” says McCaskill. “When blacks tried to attend schools like the University of Alabama and the University of Mississippi they were blocked and there were riots. The fact that Secretary DeVos doesn’t understand this basic fact is appalling.”
DeVos wants to allow public education funding to follow students to the schools or services that best fit their needs.
“Shame on Secretary DeVos. Shame on her for not understanding history. For trying to shoehorn the racist history in our country into her talking points about school choice. That’s wrong.”
Totally nuts. DeVos pretending that establishment of historically black colleges was about choice not racism. https://t.co/gROpItxRx4
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) February 28, 2017
DeVos later said historically black schools remain at the forefront of opening doors that had previously been closed to many students.
In a historic vote of 50 to 50 with Vice President Pence breaking a deadlock, the U.S. Senate confirmed last month DeVos as education secretary. It’s the first time a vice president has broken a tie on a presidential cabinet nomination.