Betsy DeVos Q&A: On undocumented students, Jeb Bush, bilingualism and other issues
President Donald Trump’s education secretary spent two days in Miami this week, her first full trip with stops at a variety of schools and colleges since taking office.
Betsy DeVos was a controversial pick because of her advocacy for charter schools and lack of public education experience (she famously raised eyebrows during her Senate confirmation hearing for suggesting guns might be appropriate in remote schools to defend against grizzly bears). But her Friday morning visit to Royal Palm Elementary, a traditional public school in Westwood Lakes, went off without a hitch.
Principal Marta Garcia, right, gives U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos a tour of Royal Palm Elementary with Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho on Friday. C.M. GUERREROcmguerrero@elnuevoherald.com
Accompanied by Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who had invited the education secretary to Miami, DeVos visited classrooms and read a Dr. Seuss book to a group of kindergarteners. Then she stopped by Miami Dade College and dropped in on a class for small business owners. She also sat for a brief Q&A with the Miami Herald to talk about hot topics like school choice and immigration. The secretary was cautious in her responses but shared thoughts on bilingual education and protections for undocumented immigrant students. Here are highlights from the interview, which has been edited for length and clarity.