Betsy DeVos Accused Of 'Whitewashing' The History Of Black Colleges

Betsy DeVos's HBCU statement is reason no. 379 that she should not be secretary of education. These weren't "more options" as Betsy puts it - they were the ONLY option for many black students.

However, many commentators feel that the statement is ignorant of the racial segregation and Jim Crow laws that made HBCUs a necessity for black students.

In a response to a question by AURN's April Ryan, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Monday did not specify how exactly Trump's executive order would help the nation's 105 HBCUs. She favors charter, private, and religious schools, ignoring public ones. Martin West, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, calls the negative effects in Louisiana "as large as any I've seen in the literature" - not just compared with other voucher studies, but in the history of American education research.

More recently, DeVos signed a Federal letter, co-signed by President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions that overturned a policy on nondiscrimination laws that was created by the Obama administration. "Some of (DeVos') ideas that may assist in the improvement of public education in large urban schools would be very counterproductive for school districts like Springfield, Nixa, Ozark, Republic and Willard".

In the aftermath of the American Civil War, black Americans found themselves unable to attend colleges and universities because they simply were not allowed entrance into them. Although some institutions, including Ohio's Oberlin College, permitted black students to enroll, a vast majority of American universities were off-limits to black students.

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In a statement, DeVos praised HBCUs as being "pioneers" for school choice 'since their founding'. Not DeVos, certainly, who could've just clicked on the website of the department she heads where all necessary information regarding "Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Higher Education Desegregation" is available.

"What I do hope for, and I'm confident will happen, is that you'll have a Department of Education that is more private school-friendly", says Agudath Israel's National Director of State Relations, A.D. Motzen.

Stephen Kleinsmith, superintendent for Nixa Public Schools, said he was initially frustrated by DeVos being appointed, but that he and his colleagues prioritize a hopeful, professional perspective.

Now that DeVos is the secretary of education, she will attempt to do what she did in MI across the country. Therefore, the Morrill Land-Grant Act was revised in 1890 to stipulate "that states using federal land-grant funds must either make their schools open to both blacks and whites or allocate money for segregated black colleges to serve as an alternative to white schools".

  • Megan Austin