Education Secretary Betsy DeVos sat down with CBS’ Lesley Stahl for a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday evening, and DeVos repeatedly stumbled as she faced simple yet pointed questions from Stahl.
DeVos is known for her advocacy for school choice, but she was unable to say whether her push to allow students to obtain vouchers and use taxpayer money to attend private schools has improved the public school system. Facing questions about her school choice advocacy from Stahl, DeVos cited a Florida study that she claims shows that the voucher system does improve the public schools that children flee.
“Now, has that happened in Michigan?” Stahl asked, referencing DeVos’ home state.
“Yes, well, there’s lots of great options and choices for students here,” DeVos replied.
“Have the public schools in Michigan gotten better?” Stahl followed up.
DeVos couldn’t say.
“I don’t know. Overall, I, I can’t say overall that they have all gotten better,” she said.
Later, Stahl asked DeVos if she had visited the schools performing the worst.
“I have not, I have not, I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming,” DeVos replied.
“Maybe I should,” DeVos then said when Stahl suggested she visit those schools.
Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos struggles to answer fairly basic questions on school performance on 60 Minutes pic.twitter.com/lFVq3USwUW
— Axios (@axios) March 12, 2018
The education secretary was unable to say whether the number of false accusations of sexual assaults in schools was higher than the number of assaults.
“Are you in any way, do you think, suggesting that the number of false accusations are as high as the number of actual rapes or assaults?” Stahl asked.
“Well, one sexual assault is one too many, and one falsely accused individual is one too many,” DeVos replied.
“Yeah, but are they the same?” Stahl pressed.
“I don’t know. I don’t know,” DeVos answered. “But I’m committed to a process that’s fair for everyone involved.”
DeVos also said that states should have the “option” of allowing teachers to carry guns but admitted she had trouble picturing her first grade teacher carrying a weapon.