Society

DeVos Criticized For Calling HBCUs 'Pioneers Of Choice'

| by Ray Brown

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is facing backlash after she said Historically Black Colleges and Universities are "pioneers in school choice."

"HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice. They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality," DeVos, a fierce advocate of school choice and charter schools, said in a statement on Feb. 28. "Their success has shown that more options help students flourish."

DeVos' comments came after meeting with HBCU leaders from across the country at the White House to announce the Trump administration's plan to increase funding to the colleges.

While the increased funding announcement was met with some fanfare, it was DeVos' comments about "school choice" that came under fire. Many HBCUs were founded because black students weren't allowed to attend already established colleges and universities that only admitted white students.

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"Betsy DeVos said HBCUs were about school choice. As if white/colored water fountains were about beverage options," wrote one Twitter user.

"I really want to give [DeVos] a chance," tweeted a white attorney who reportedly attended an HBCU law school in North Carolina. "But this statement is historically illiterate to a painful degree."

"I told my mom, who grew up in the Jim Crow South, that Betsy DeVos said HBCUs started bc of school choice," tweeted another user. "she laughed."

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Twitter (2) (3) / Photo credit: Greg Nash via The Hill

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