Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said Wednesday that she “should have decried much more forcefully the ravages of racism in this country.”
DeVos walked back a comment she made in February in which she suggested that historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were “pioneers” of school choice while speaking with the Associated Press.
“When I talked about it being a pioneer in choice it was because I acknowledge that racism was rampant and there were no choices,” said the education secretary to AP. “These HBCUs provided choices for black students that they didn’t have.” (RELATED: DeVos To Speak At Historically Black Colleges After Saying They Are ‘Pioneers’ Of ‘School Choice’)
“My intention was to say they were pioneering on behalf of students that didn’t have another choice. This was their only choice,” said DeVos. “At the same time I should have decried much more forcefully the ravages of racism in this country.”
DeVos told AP that the Department of Education was not involved in the Departmentof Justice’s inquiry into the allegation of race-based discrimination brought by dozens of Asian-American groups against Harvard University.
The education secretary stressed the integral role K-12 education played in granting equal access for students with regard to higher education.
“It is not fair to think that when students transit through a K-12 system that is not preparing them for beyond, that somehow we are going to wave a magic wand and things are going to be perfect for them at the higher-ed level,” she told AP.
Students booed and turned their backs on DeVos when she spoke at Bethune-Cookman University, an HBCU, in May.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the Department of Education for comment but received none in time for press.
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