Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos slammed what she sees as a threat to free speech on university campuses and called fixing education an “American issue” while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday.
“They say that if you voted for Donald Trump, you’re a threat to the university community,” DeVos said, addressing the crowd before being interviewed. “But the real threat is silencing the First Amendment rights of people with whom you disagree.”
The secretary of education then spoke with CNN commentator and The Hill contributor Kayleigh McEnanay, who asked DeVos about how conservative students should respond to what they deem a culture of intolerance to their views.
“Don’t shut up; keep talking,” the secretary instructed. “Keep making your arguments.” She advised conservative students to voice their opinions with civility, but also confidence.
“We need to have opposing viewpoints and different ideas,” she said, arguing that such an atmosphere benefits everyone involved.
DeVos next turned to the subject of federal vs. state control of schools.
“I want to return power in education back to where it belongs, with parents, communities, and states,” she said, reiterating a return to state control which she had previously suggested.
“I think that the role of the federal government should be as light of a touch as possible,” said DeVos, explaining that government intervention should be limited to civil rights issues and topics related to special needs students.
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