Education Secretary Whitewashes History of Segregation That Led to Establishment of Historically Black Colleges
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is under fire for whitewashing history and ignoring the racism and segregation that led to the establishment of America's historically Black colleges, while comparing them to today's charter schools. In a statement DeVos claimed these schools of higher education were created simply because Black people wanted more choices, just like parents who prefer the voucher systems that fuel the mostly private charter schools for which she has been a decades-long advocate.
In fact, historically Black colleges were not created as additional choices, for most people of color they were the only choice. Black people were not allowed to attend colleges and universities that white people attended - information that, coincidentally, is freely available of the Dept. of Education website.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), DeVos said, after meeting with leaders from those institutions, "are real pioneers when it comes to school choice. They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality. Their success has shown that more options help students flourish."
DeVos framed their inception by saying not a word about racism, but saying they "started from the fact that there were too many students in America who did not have equal access to education. They saw that the system wasn't working, that there was an absence of opportunity, so they took it upon themselves to provide the solution."
On Twitter, many were furious:
Next Betsy DeVos will praise slaves for being "entrepreneurial self starters"â€” Oliver Willis (@owillis) February 28, 2017
HBCUs were founded in the segregated South, when black students were denied entry to white schools.â€” Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 28, 2017
"School choice"?? There was no choice. pic.twitter.com/SBYSkVUnob
Betsy DeVos said HBCUs were about school choice. As if white/colored water fountains were about beverage options. pic.twitter.com/I3tNlER43nâ€” Resist Dystopia (@AynAyahSteenkur) February 28, 2017
Betsy DeVos's sees HBCUs as pioneers of "school choice," as if black students had a "choice" to go to white colleges in segregated America. pic.twitter.com/75YKvjB70xâ€” Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) February 28, 2017
Betsy DeVos on HBCUs as "school choice" vs. basic historical facts about segregation on her own department's website pic.twitter.com/b6fs5v78W0â€” Brendan Nyhan (@BrendanNyhan) February 28, 2017
Betsy DeVos probably thinks Native Americans *chose* to leave all those open plains and forests to live on reservations.â€” Cassandra (@ChrisWarcraft) February 28, 2017
Dear Betsy Devos. Multiple choice exam. I'll keep it grade level for you and allow your privilege to matter. #HBCUs were founded because of:â€” karla fc holloway (@ProfHolloway) February 28, 2017
DeVos either is either ignorant or twisted. #HBCUs weren't created bc of choice. It was bc we couldn't get into white institutions.â€” Taalib S (@TaalibSpeaks) February 28, 2017
BETSY DEVOS: the great thing about having separate water fountains was african americans got to choose to drink from other water fountainsâ€” Bob Vulfov (@bobvulfov) February 28, 2017
Betsy Devos is a "Pioneer" of not knowing what she's talking about.â€” Shadé Y. Adu (@shadeyaabirago) February 28, 2017
Trump bans Muslim refugees, AG opposes voting rights & DeVos implies segregation resulted from choice. This is why we can't have nice thingsâ€” Johnny Carcinogen (@JohnnyCarcinogn) February 28, 2017
DeVos is so close to saying "separate but equal" my eye twitches when I think about her.â€” Valor Club Resists (@valor_club) February 28, 2017
Over the weekend in an exceptionally partisan speech at CPAC DeVos mocked food-insecure children by bragging she was the first person to ever tell Bernie Sanders "to his face that there's no such thing as a free lunch." For many children, school lunches are the only meals they can count on. She also told attendees that President Barack Obama's transgender guidance that reflects the law was "huge overreach."
UPDATE: 3:23 PM EST -
To comment on this article and other NCRM content, visit our Facebook page.
Hat tip: The Hill
See a mistake? Email corrections to: [email protected]