Adam Harris of The Chronicle of Higher Education has compiled a chronological list of the major statements about higher education made by Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos since October 2016. Here are some of Secretary DeVos’ that are worth noting:
January 17, 2017: During a contentious confirmation hearing, Ms. DeVos speaks at some length about topics ranging from student debt to Title IX. “For too long a college degree has been pushed as the only avenue for a better life. The old and expensive brick-mortar-and-ivy model is not the only one that will lead to a prosperous future,” she tells the senators. “President-elect Trump and I agree we need to support all postsecondary avenues, including trade and vocational schools, and community colleges.”
February 23: During an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Ms. DeVos takes aim at university faculty members, criticizing them for “ominously” telling students what to think. Ms. DeVos further emphasizes her alignment with the rest of the administration on the Obama-era transgender bathroom guidance. “Let me just say this issue was a very huge example of the Obama administration’s overreach,” she says. The night before, Ms. DeVos issues a strongly worded statement proclaiming the “moral obligation” to protect students and investigate claims of discrimination.
February 27: Following a “listening session” with leaders of historically black colleges and universities, Ms. DeVos issues a statement saying HBCUs were “pioneers of school choice,” in an attempt to find a common thread between her central platform and the institutions. Many people quickly note that HBCUs were not founded to promote school choice but out of necessity, as black people were barred from attending many white colleges in the aftermath of the Civil War. She begins to walk back the comment during a luncheon with black-college leaders and members of Congress the following day.
May 9: During a brief appearance at the ASU+GSV conference in Salt Lake City, Ms. DeVos offered suggestions about how Congress should think about higher education. “The discussion is around the reauthorization of higher ed,” she said, referring to the overdue reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965. “My bigger question is, Why would we reauthorize an act that is like 50 or 60 years old and has continued to be amended? Why wouldn’t we start fresh and talk about what we need in this century and beyond for educating and helping our young people?” Sen. Lamar Alexander, chair of the Senate education committee, has said reauthorizing the Higher Education Act is his top education priority this congress.
It’s worth taking a look at the entire list.