In the four years Trump served in office, and with a high cabinet member turnover rate, Betsy Devos managed to stay in her role as Secretary of Education for the entirety of his term. That left her with plenty of time to create and enact harmful policies that targeted students and communities across the nation, leaving a challenge to undo all the damage she's created. Here are some of her worst moments:
1. Her changes to Title IX stripped away civil rights of students
LGBTQ+ students living in states where they are not protected from discrimination or bullying were supposed to be protected by federal legislation, but Betsy DeVos stripped their Title IX protections and refused to discuss the high rates of suicide among transgender students, all within her first month in office.
DeVos’s changes to Title IX protections had a huge effect on students’ interests in filing complaints, which are already underreported, and harms the capacity of those students to have a healthy learning environment.
2. DeVos proposed massive cuts to the Dept. of Ed
The Trump administration, with the full support of DeVos, proposed to cut the community schools program budget for fiscal year 2020, while also requesting more than $40 million be redirected to charter schools. The administration wanted to cut $5 billion from public schools, eliminate the Unified Champion Schools program, and cut the Department of Education budget by 10 percent. DeVos made it even worse by asking for no increases in the extremely underfunded Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
3. She stood against survivors of sexual assault
One of the most notable failures of Devos’ time as secretary of education was how her Title IX changes affected and targeted survivors of sexual assault at campuses across the nation. DeVos’ proposed rule allows schools to:
- ignore sexual assault that occurs outside of a school program — such as in off-campus housing,
- increase barriers to reporting and shield schools from liability,
- require schools to only investigate the most “serious” forms of harassment and assault,
- and allow schools to use unregulated “mediation” processes instead of investigating.
4. She consistently took shots at special education funding
Devos proposed to cut funding for the Special Olympics and Unified Champion Schools, which both created the opportunity for disabled and non-disabled students to play sports together. Although the budget cuts were ultimately reversed, that didn’t stop Devos from including them in her budget proposals three years in a row.
Last year, she also illegally delayed an Obama- era rule that required states to address racial disparities in special education, and called the rule “arbitrary and capricious.”
5. Betsy DeVos made the student debt crisis worse
DeVos made it easier for student loan management companies to engage in what state governments have called “deceptive collection practices” by refusing to hold them accountable. The American Federation of Teachers filed a lawsuit against Devos for mismanaging the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, by denying relief to 99% of teachers, nurses and public employees who applied.
And if all of that wasn’t enough to target college students, she also managed to repeal a regulation that sought to protect students from defunct for-profit colleges and universities that promise degrees and don’t deliver, leaving students with mountains of debt, no real job prospects, and no debt relief.
If there is anything worth celebrating after this long year, it’s the termination of Betsy Devos and the prospect that students and teachers across the country will finally receive the support they need to cultivate safe learning environments, free of harmful policies that seek to strip away their funding and rights.
Your donation supports our media and helps us keep it free of ads and paywalls.