The Atlantic

DeVos Digs Herself Deeper

In her 60 Minutes interview, the education secretary failed to convince policy scholars that she’d improved her understanding of the issues.
Source: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos delivers remarks about the Trump administration's efforts to increase school safety.

It was, perhaps, the best opportunity she had to patch up her reputation since starting her new job.

Betsy DeVos, the country’s highly unpopular education secretary, had been asked to participate in an interview on 60 Minutes, and the news-media-shy billionaire philanthropist and school-choice advocate accepted the invitation. The media appearance would be a high-stakes endeavor, and not only because it was pegged to the newly announced White House school-safety commission that she’ll be leading. It had been a little over a year since DeVos’s Senate confirmation hearing, a saga in which she had to convince key members of Congress that she, a person with very little experience in public schools, was fit to be the nation’s education chief. The January 2017 hearing had so many gaffes that it, along with the social-media buzz leading up to it, generated mainstream interest in issues typically familiar only to education wonks.

The brouhaha quickly came and slowly went, and aside from and , DeVos over time made fewer and fewer headlines. After all, she gave the media little to talk about, establishing a formidable barrier between herself and , keeping public-speaking engagements somewhat to a minimum, and or , she typically . None of this did much to warm her critics’ hearts, but she generally escaped the sort of ridicule and vitriol that had accompanied her initiation in Washington.

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