Betsy DeVos is unfit, unprepared, unworthy

Betsy DeVos

Betsy “Devoid” (of good sense), also known as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is an aberration, an abomination, an abscess on the complexion of educational policy and equity. She has been so egregious that at least two members of Congress have called for her resignation because of her abject indifference to young people, especially those who are Black, Brown and poor.   

Racial fear

Instead of supporting our young people, DeVoid has attacked them. Black boys are three times as likely to be suspended as their White counterparts. More disturbingly, Black girls are 12 times more likely to be suspended than White girls. Why? Because Black girls have no girlhood, no presumption of innocence. We are the recipients of “Afrophobia” – fear of Black people.

President Obama didn’t do much for Black folks, but he did introduce Civil Rights Division protections for these overly suspended students. DeVoid would roll them back. She also wants to change the rules on campus enforcement of sexual harassment, giving the attacker the “presumption of innocence” and the right for a rapist to question the accuser.

And he wants to protect for-profit colleges, while President Obama said that students should be protected against these predators. These for-profit colleges only exist to take people’s student loan money. They provide little in services and even less in educational support.

Lining their pockets

But DeVoid – whose family seems to benefit from their involvement in the for-profit college space – is protecting her own interests. That’s not unusual in an administration where the presidential daughter has garnered patents with China, perhaps influencing our nation’s foreign policy.

DeVoid’s ignorance was most recently exhibited when she attempted to defend budget cuts that would affect the differently-abled, including cuts to the Special Olympics, our nation’s only deaf-focused university, Gallaudet, and to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.  Really?

She is doing the work she was sent to do – to dismantle public education in favor of publicly supported private education. If folks want to do private schooling, that’s their business, but should public schools suffer for elitism? And should someone whose biases are so publicly visible be in charge of this? I think not.

Ms. DeVoid’s tepid response to aggressive questioning by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, among others, exhibited her unpreparedness and unfitness. We knew that DeVoid was unqualified when she narrowly squeaked past senatorial confirmation, only earning it because Vice President Mike Pence cast a historical tie-breaking vote for her.

Trump’s support critical

Even Republicans find her out of order, out of line, unqualified, unprepared and unfit. She is entirely consistent with the cretin who appointed her, and young people are paying for her ignorance. She is fully supported by the man who has enabled her to wreak havoc on our educational system.

The blessing is that she can, perhaps, motivate our activism at the local level.  More progressive activists must run for school boards. More must reject how this administration is attacking education. We must be clear that failure didn’t start with this administration, but it is amplified and exacerbated by this administration. If we believe that education is a human right, we must resist this nonsense.

DeVoid is on the frontline of a cultural war designed to sideline folks who don’t look or spend like her. Are we ready to fight back, resisting a woman who is unfit, unprepared, and unworthy of educational policy leadership?

Julianne Malveaux is a Washington, D.C.-based economist and writer. Her latest book, “Are We Better Off? Race, Obama and Public Policy,” is available at



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