Thursday, February 16, 2017

DeVos softens stance on protesters at higher ed event - The Washington Post

DeVos softens stance on protesters at higher ed event - The Washington Post:

DeVos softens stance on protesters at higher ed event


Education Secretary Betsy DeVos softened her view Thursday on the objections to her appointment to President Trump’s Cabinet, a day after she criticized protesters who she said want to keep new thinking out of schools.
“While some have characterized the flurry of attention around my confirmation in negative terms, I view it as expressions of passion, passionate parents and passionate advocates who care deeply about their kids and about education,” Devos said in remarks to a conference of community college leaders in Washington. “I applaud it and I know the same kind of passion drives all of you.”
In her first appearance at a public higher education event, DeVos lauded the work of community colleges, but offered no details on how the department she leads will support their efforts. DeVos, who has no professional experience in education and narrowly won Senate confirmation, has not said much about her vision for higher education. As a result, policy analysts and college leaders have been eager for signs of where she and the Trump administration stand on student aid, regulations and other higher ed issues.
On Thursday, DeVos praised two-year public schools as “essential engines of workforce and economic development.” Though she named legislative priorities that are top of mind for community colleges, including an expansion of Pell Grants for low-income students, DeVos did not take a position on any of them. Congress has authority to affect higher ed policy through legislation, but the secretary can advocate policies she deems important. It was unclear from Thursday’s event whether DeVos plans to use her bully pulpit to that end, and the audience had no chance to ask because the secretary was whisked off stage following her remarks.
DeVos spent much of her brief remarks on the role of community colleges in workforce development, noting Trump’s plans to expand vocational and technical education that she said two-year institutions “excel” at providing. She said she shares the president’s vision of making multiple paths for postsecondary education a priority, without elaborating on how the department will accomplish that.DeVos softens stance on protesters at higher ed event - The Washington Post:


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