Saturday, March 4, 2017

Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump made news on school vouchers, charter schools and race this week. : NPR Ed : NPR

Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump made news on school vouchers, charter schools and race this week. : NPR Ed : NPR:

Betsy DeVos' 'School Choice' Controversy; Historically Black Colleges And More


It was another big week for national education news. Here's our take on the top stories of the week.
Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump meet with HBCU leaders
The Education Secretary seems to be racking up controversies at the rate of about one per week.
This week, it was for remarks she made Monday on the occasion of a "listening session" with presidents of historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs. She tied them to her favorite cause: school choice.
"HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice," she said in a statement after the meeting. "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."
The comments drew immediate and sharp criticism from those who pointed out that HBCUs were created in response to widespread racial segregation. They weren't just another choice, critics pointed out, they were often the only educational avenue for black students.
When DeVos addressed HBCU leaders directly the next day, she struck a different tone, saying: "Your history was born, not out of mere choice, but out of necessity, in the face of racism, and in the aftermath of the Civil War."
That listening session, meanwhile? It was cut short in favor of an Oval Office meet-and-greet between the college leaders and the president, as one of the invited guests, Dillard University President Walter Kimbrough, wrote on Medium:
"There was very little listening to HBCU presidents today — we were only given about 2 minutes each, and that was cut to one minute, so only about 7 of maybe 15 or so speakers were given an opportunity today."
(That meeting should have been a routine photo op, but it happened to feature White House aide Kellyanne Conway kneeling on a couch, a pose that some saw as too casual.)
Kimbrough told NPR's Ari Shapiro later that day that he's "waiting for the budget," and specifically funding for Pell Grants for low-income students, before he decides whether Trump's and DeVos' interest in HBCUs is genuine.
Meanwhile on HBCU campuses ...
At Howard University in Washington, D.C., graffiti was found throughout campus denouncing the Trump meeting, with phrases like "Welcome to Trump plantation," and "Wayne Frederick [the university president] doesn't care about black people."
Trump hints at his school choice plans
On Tuesday, President Trump delivered his first speech to a joint session of Congress. On education, he returned to a line he'd used on the campaign trail: "Education is the civil rights issue of our time."
He continued, "I am calling upon members of both parties to pass an education bill Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump made news on school vouchers, charter schools and race this week. : NPR Ed : NPR:
 

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