The controversy started after DeVos was interviewed on 60 Minutes in March.
A public letter by Nicole Baker Fulgham of The Expectations Project, a faith centric education advocacy group, criticized Betsy DeVos , the U.S. Secretary of Education, for her comments on school discipline and race. A petition on the same subject has achieved thousands of signatures. The letter is about DeVos’s consideration to rescind the civil rights guidance crafted during the President Barack Obama administration. The guidance deals with the fact that students of color are more disciplined compared to their white counterparts. The education secretary met with both critics and supporters of that guidance to decide on the matter.
The controversy started after DeVos was interviewed on 60 Minutes in March. She was asked about the possibility of the Trump administration to rescind the Obama era guidance crafted to reduce the expulsions and suspensions of the minority students. When the interviewer asked her the additional question of whether African-American children were being punished more severely when compared to white children, the Education Secretary did not immediately respond. She said her department is studying the matter.
Fulgham, in her letter, first identifies herself as “person of faith,” a direct reference to the public faith of DeVos and then said that she is extremely disappointed with the Education Secretary’s responses. The President of The Expectations Project, herself taught at a public school, pointed out that research done by DeVos’s Department of Education itself reveals that African-American students suffer from three times more compared to their white peers in matters of academic suspension or expulsion.
Fulgham wrote “Our scripture says we’re all created in the image of God and are, therefore, of equal and immeasurable worth in the eyes of our Creator. So when African-American kids in our schools are treated differently than white kids we should all be able to agree this is wrong.”
The Expectations Project head, in a Facebook video, said she was extremely sad when she heard black students are punished differently from white students. It means the entire educational system is engaged in institutional racism. The letter had received about 15,000 online signatures.
- Religion News Service
- National Catholic Reporter
- The Expectations Project
- Civil Rights Data Collection