WASHINGTON — In a remarkable admission, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a television interview on Sunday that she has not “intentionally” visited public schools in Michigan that are struggling and underperforming.
President Trump’s top education advocate was responding to a question during an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” about whether she had seen the struggling schools in her home state of Michigan, considered among the worst in the country.
“I have not — I have not — I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming,” said Ms. DeVos, a billionaire philanthropist who has pumped millions of dollars into Michigan to promote school choice and vouchers for private and parochial schools.
School choice is the centerpiece of Ms. DeVos’s education platform. She has spent most of her professional life fighting for loosening the federal government’s grip on public education while promoting parochial and charter schools in Michigan — many of which her family has bankrolled.
Michigan’s charter school initiatives have not yielded consistently strong results across the state. In a 2016 report by the Education Trust-Midwest, the state’s elementary and secondary school system was among the weakest in the country and continuing to decline.
“Michigan schools need to do better. There is no doubt about it,” Ms. DeVos said in the interview.