Members of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation who have previously raised concerns about Betsy DeVos leading the Department of Education, released a new report Thursday suggesting that the secretary’s tenure has “been a boon for shady for-profit colleges, student loan companies and school privatization advocates.”
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, and U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Melrose, unveiled their first “DeVos Watch” annual review, a 17-page report that examines the education secretary’s work since being confirmed to President Donald Trump’s cabinet in February 2017.
The Massachusetts Democrats, in announcing their review, said the report reveals that DeVos’ actions “have raised serious ethical questions, prioritized for-profit colleges over student borrowers, weakened traditional public education in favor of non-public schools and reversed civil rights protections for students.”
The report accuses DeVos of: having “damaging conflicts of interest;” working to limit, delay and revoke regulations that seek to hold colleges accountable; rolling back relief for students ripped off by for-profit colleges; and undermining key protections for public school students contained in the Every Student Succeeds Act.
It also suggests that she “has spent her time in office meeting with school choice and privatization advocates, while largely ignoring the needs of public school students and teachers.”
Further, the report alleges that the education secretary has “curtailed protections for victims of sexual harassment and sexual violence; eliminated protections for transgender students; weakened protections for students of color; and weakened enforcement of civil rights protections by the department’s Office for Civil Rights.”
The Department of Education did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the report.
Clark contended that DeVos gets an “F” grade for “failing to protect our promise to America’s students.”
“DeVos’s attacks on public schools and underserved students show us a clueless, out-of-touch secretary of education who is more interested in profits for privatization advocates and predatory lenders than making sure all of our kids have a fair shot at a great public education,” she said in a statement.
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Warren, meanwhile, called DeVos “the worst secretary of education this country has ever seen — by a large margin.”
“Secretary DeVos has spent her first year bending over backwards to allow students to be cheated, taking an axe to public education and undermining the civil rights of students across the country,” she added. “Secretary DeVos has failed in her job and she must be held accountable.”
Warren, who has been an outspoken critic of DeVos and railed against her confirmation, launched “DeVos Watch” in May 2017 as part of an effort to hold the secretary accountable for her actions at the Department of Education.
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The Democrat stressed that the move was not partisan and urged all voters to join her in ensuring that students are put “ahead of profits” at the Education Department.