DeVos Compares School Choice to Switching Phone Carriers

Cheryl Sanders
May 25, 2017

Another video shows DeVos, who was given an honorary doctorate from Bethune-Cookman, saying later in her speech that she planned to visit the grave of the school's founder, Mary McLeod Bethune.

But perhaps they were asking themselves if they failed in their goal of educating the next generation over the last four years or succeeded?

DeVos is reiterating her push for school choice during an annual education technology conference, comparing the issue to being able to switch between phone service providers.

She said there are many great cell phone companies, but people have the option to pick which one they want to use.

In February, a statement of hers said historically black colleges and universities are the "real pioneers when it comes to school choice".

"I am grateful for the opportunity to speak with you, and particularly with those who have disagreed with the invitation for me to be here", DeVos said to the students.

The HBCU leaders in attendance described a freakish meeting - the same one where aide Kellyanne Conway was pictured kneeling on a couch - with "very little listening to HBCU presidents."That's where, school officials said, the conversation started to bring DeVos to Bethune-Cookman's graduation". She cited the administration's interest in allowing students to use Pell grants - the money the government provides low-income students to attend college - year-round as an example of a way officials are working to make a college degree more attainable. Secretary DeVos has no understanding of the importance, contributions, and significance of HBCUs...

A protester, center, is escorted out of commencement exercises during a speech by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at Bethune-Cookman University, Wednesday, May 10, 2017, in Daytona Beach, Fla.

"Some of you may not like it, but she's here, we're welcoming her and we're building new relationships", Jackson said. But she was quickly criticized, as many of these educational institutions were founded during the Jim Crow Era-a time when most universities across the US only catered to whites.

The B-CU petition also objects to DeVos's recent withdrawal of protections the Obama administration put in place for students who have mismanaged or are defaulting on their student loans.

DeVos' speech had to be interrupted to warn students that their degrees would be mailed to them if they persisted. A hashtag on social media, #BackstoBetsy, suggested some of the approximately 300 graduating seniors would turn their backs during DeVos' speech. Today, they tend to have far fewer resources than other schools.

The controversy began as soon as the selection of Devos as a commencement speaker was announced earlier this month.

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