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Stossel: Betsy DeVos Responds to Her Critics

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Trump’s secretary of education says she’s “undeterred.”

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People despise Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Protesters call her a white supremacist, and hold up signs that say, “students are not for sale.” Some physically block her from schools.

John Stossel went to the mammoth Education Department headquarters in Washington, D.C., to get DeVos’ response to the haters. She says she’s “undeterred.”

When protesters blocked her from entering Jefferson Middle School Academy, she told her security, “we are absolutely going back there. You’re going to figure out a way to get me in, because they are not going to win.” She got in and spent the day with the staff and the kids.

People accuse her of “buying” the secretary of education position, and the media is quick to point out her wealth. Rachel Maddow: “DeVos is a billionaire…born into a billionaire family.” CNN’s Walter Shaub: “DeVos’ primary expertise seems to be in being a rich person.”

She is rich, and she’s used her money for good. For 30 years, she’s worked to give poor families a chance to attend better schools. She donated millions to charter schools and private schools. She also lobbied to get Michigan to implement school choice.

That enrages the education establishment. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, clams: “80 percent of…the charter schools in Detroit are failing…. What she has done is actually made schooling worse in Michigan.”

But DeVos, correctly, counters: “Charter schools in Michigan…are doing demonstrably better than…traditional public schools.”

She points to a Stanford study that concluded Michigan charter schools are so much better than public schools that it’s as if charter kids get months of additional learning every year.

Public schools have stuck with the same education system we’ve had for more than a hundred years—an “industrial model” that treats kids as widgets, DeVos tells Stossel. The charter and private schools she champions are more free to innovate, to set different hours, to be open during summer, or to pay good teachers more.

DeVos also tells Stossel that she’s not the nation’s “choice chief.” She can’t force school choice on states. But she can encourage innovation, and she will.

The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel, his independent production company, Stossel Productions, and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

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