How Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Undermines Civil Rights & Favors Predatory Lenders Over Students


AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now, Democracy
Now.org, the war and peace report. I’m Amy Goodman with JUAN GONZÁLEZ. JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We turn now to look at billionaire
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a longtime backer of charter schools and vouchers for
private and religious schools. She has said she considers education a, quote,
“industry,” and called the public school system a “dead end.” A recent study by Stanford University’s
Center for Research on Education Outcomes, however, found that students attending for-profit
charter schools have significantly lower academic gains than those attending nonprofit charters. AMY GOODMAN: DeVos is back in the news this
month after she said she wanted to return the Education Department’s Office of Civil
Rights, quote, “to its role as a neutral, impartial, investigative agency,” unquote. An official with the office came under fire
last week after she said that most campus rape claims amount to two young people who
are “both drunk.” Meanwhile, attorney generals in 18 states
and the District of Columbia are suing DeVos and the Department of Education over a rule
to protect student loan borrowers that was set to go into effect July 1st, until DeVos
announced a “reset” of the rule, known as “borrower defense to repayment.” To discuss all this and more, we’re joined
by Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. It’s good to have you with us. Can you assess, starting with today and the
latest news, what’s happening in the Department of Education? RANDI WEINGARTEN: Yes. It’s a disaster. I mean, it’s—so, what we said—so, we’ve
spent a lot of time, as we just talked about before, in Michigan. And we watched Betsy DeVos when she was, you
know, an advocate for privatization and charters and for busting up public schools in Michigan. And we said she was the most anti-education
secretary who had ever gotten that position. And I think everything she’s done since
then has proven that. So this is what she’s doing. Number one, it’s not just promoting for-profit
charters and vouchers, but it’s also taking a meat ax to the federal budget that goes
to vulnerable kids, both in education and in healthcare. That’s number one. That’s part of the budget. Number two, she is cutting the enforcement. And number three, probably more important
than anything, even though I think the budget cuts are really important, is that an agency
that is supposed to be about equity, that is supposed to fight for the vulnerable, she
is focused—she is squarely on the side of lenders instead of borrowers. And you see that with the borrower defense
rule you just talked about. She is squarely on the side of—you know,
of the powerful and not the vulnerable. So, she’s stripped away the transgender
rules, the stuff that’s going on with campus violence and campus rape—and what Candice
Jackson said, saying, essentially, even though she apologized, that, you know, 90 percent
of these cases are because somebody is drunk. And now the entity that is supposed to be
there to protect against discrimination, protect and ensure that people have a shot at education,
she’s saying, is now going to be neutral. JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Randi, the importance
of her hiring as one of her deputy assistant secretaries Adam Kissel, who comes out of
the Koch Foundation— RANDI WEINGARTEN: Right. JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —for higher education? RANDI WEINGARTEN: Well, this is what—it’s
not just the fox guarding the hen house. This is an active, active undermining of the
equity and discrimination rules that were embedded since Johnson in terms of the Department
of Education. So it’s cutting the money for public schools. It’s preferring lenders over—and for-profit
colleges over students. And now it is actively undermining what OCR,
the Office of Civil Rights, is supposed to do for the vulnerable. Let me add one more thing, because the healthcare
bill comes into this, as well. JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yeah, wanted to ask you about
that. Yes. RANDI WEINGARTEN: Seventy-eight percent of
school districts in America use Medicaid. Seventy-eight percent. So if you—if you take the healthcare bill,
that basically takes a huge whack out of Medicare, ends Medicare as we know it, that then hugely
hurts every child in these 78 percent of districts—wheelchairs, feeding tubes, the screening and these kinds
of things. So, this is taking a whack out of the most
vulnerable, taking away funding from those who—from people who are poor, who need opportunity,
like after-school programs and things like that, and then, on top of it, basically, not
just undermining the enforcement, but basically saying, “We are no longer going to be the
agency that makes sure that there’s no discrimination for America’s schoolchildren.” AMY GOODMAN: Explain this latest news on OCR,
the Office of Civil Rights. Explain the implications of this. RANDI WEINGARTEN: So, what—since—from
the moment—from all of the civil rights laws back to the 1960s, one of them was the
education law. There was public access. There was voting. There was education. And part—and what was created was the Office
of Civil Rights. And so, there was a presumption that that
office was going to fight against discrimination and fight for equity. This was not just something that Barack Obama
did. This goes back to every president, Republican
and Democrat alike. And so, when she says she’s going to make
that agency neutral, she is taking a step away from the enforcement of civil rights
laws. JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Neutral between the perpetrators
of discrimination and the victims of discrimination. RANDI WEINGARTEN: I mean, how do you make—how
do you make a law that—where—you know, look, I represent a union. I represent people. I believe people should have due process. And I believe there are false accusations. But, frankly, as a survivor, as a rape survivor,
how do you not create some kind of climate to actually help people tell their stories
and get redress? And it’s not just on—you know, it’s
not just in terms of Title IX, but it’s every other law. I mean, think about what happened after Brown
v. Board of Education. Think about how the so-called choice movement
was used by segregationists to stop people from having—stop black and brown kids from
having opportunity. So, the OCR, that entity, is the one that
people go to in order to enforce discrimination laws. JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what alternative is there
at the state level to be able to beat back some of these things that are happening now— RANDI WEINGARTEN: Well, the good— JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —at the level of the federal
Department of Education? RANDI WEINGARTEN: Look, the great thing is
that 18—you know, we went to—we went to the attorney generals. It is fantastic that the attorney generals,
18 or 21 of them, are now, you know, suing to enforce the borrower defense law—or,
regulation. I mean, what this essentially means—let
me just—because those are code words. What this essentially means is that Corinthian
College went bankrupt. All these kids were left holding the bag,
with the student debts. What the borrower defense law means—or,
rule means, is that just like Corinthian gets its debts discharged in bankruptcy, these
kids should not be holding the bag. That’s what it means. So, the AGs are suing on that. And look, we—thankfully, we were able, in
a bipartisan way, to get the new federal law covering K-12 passed last year in the Congress. And even Lamar Alexander just said to Betsy
DeVos, “You’re misreading the law.” AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you about—well,
NPR is reporting Wayne Johnson will be the new head of Office of Federal Student Aid,
after James Runcie abruptly resigned last month. RANDI WEINGARTEN: Right. AMY GOODMAN: This is according to the Department
of Education. FSA is an agency responsible for administering
$1.4 trillion in outstanding student loans from 42 million borrowers, plus aid programs
for millions of college students. As not mentioned in the department’s press
release and first reported by BuzzFeed, Johnson is currently the CEO of Reunion Financial
Services Corporation, a private student loan company. RANDI WEINGARTEN: Right. I mean, this is—I don’t think saying the
fox guarding the hen house is enough to describe what is going on. You basically have people from an industry
that bilked kids, that have had predatory practices, now running the student aid programs. And it’s just—again, it is this preference,
this out-and-out preference for the lenders, for the for-profit colleges, that we have
fought for the last several years. Like, you can’t give worthless degrees and
leave kids holding the bag with unsustainable debt. And basically, we are winding back the clock
on this, as well as on rights. AMY GOODMAN: Well, Randi Weingarten, we want
to thank you very much for being with us, president of the American Federation of Teachers,
as we move on to other education news.

78 thoughts on “How Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Undermines Civil Rights & Favors Predatory Lenders Over Students”

  1. It's high time these kangaroo courts be stopped. Rape reports must be made to the police, not to a university. Why would anyone seek the university instead of the police, anyway?

  2. Reminds me of how my school ombudsman didn't do anything to help students who were discriminated. Then again, Koch Bros "donated" to my school, and for some reason the president was "replaced." Thank you Trump voters, for taking our country into further hell.

  3. "taking a meat axe … … that's part of the budget" I highly doubt that "meat axe" was in the budget. How about using some facts and figures instead?

    I was highly disappointed with how uninformative this segment was. I feel less informed after watching it, almost as if a feeling was pushed more than any actual facts.

    Randi uses exagerations, assumptions, over dramatizations, and metaphors to induce anger. while being light on substance and useful information.

  4. Randi Weingarten i hope meant to say "Medicaid" when Medicare came out of her mouth. Meidcaid is the service that supports disabled children, in some cases pays for school health services needed during the day, and also partially funds disability services groups at all levels of education. I wish Amy Goodman or Juan wouldve corrected her.

  5. Without lenders her collection agency would be out of business…………….$75 Billion extra to defense which would fund free post secondary education for every American student…….put Military Complex spending in context, America as rich natio is a joke.

  6. A generation of young Americans, pursuing the American dream, seeking education, have been sold into indentured servitude. The major difference is that the original indentured servants, only had to serve 7 years.

  7. Thank you Randi Weingarten for speaking up to help students and young people in trouble everywhere. In a sane administration someone with moral principles like yourself would be Secretary of Education instead of an ignorant con artist like Betsy. Oh, wait, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe she is educated. She might have a degree, or maybe even a Pd.D. from Trump University. Betsy DeVos is as fine a Secretary of Education as Trump University is a fine university.

  8. You fucking pieces of shit. That is a direct lie! Charter schools SMASH regular public schools. And not all charter schools are private. Vouchers mean no lending. Nothing but false claims and outright, blatant LIES! This is why your viewership is crap and I won't rest until the only possitive comments are from your bots.

  9. let the gop have their fun. like reagan's mandated prayer in school [moment of silence, they called it] in the 80s, it wont last long before it is all undone. theyre like the midget in that clint eastwood western, High Plains Drifter.

  10. Note to Randi Weingarten – US Dept of Education did not come into being until the Carter administration.

    Question to Ms Weingarten – How did we ever get along without a federal Dept of Education for 190 years? I went to school during those years and came out just fine. Dept of Education is a great area for budget cuts so we can get our economy under control.

    States & counties that are having similar economic problems can sell off the public schools and get government out of the education business. Politicians don't know any more about education than they do about healthcare or running businesses. Get the government out of all these areas.

  11. I think all this privatizing is awesome! Hear, hear! Imagine the money we could save if only those who want to support a military for empire have to pay for it.
    NO MORE FREE SHIT!

  12. Remember when trump say he was going to "drain the swamp"? Wonder how many Trump supporters still believe that?

  13. Department of Education should have been shut down 25 years ago. Betsy DeVos is making the best of a terrible situation.

  14. No this isn't the fox guarding the henhouse — it's the fox den being designated as the new henhouse.

  15. I am Australian. I am an example of why free education makes economic sense I was a single mother and the free education (afforded me at that time) enabled me to achieve my initial degree. I have been employed from that time.Consequently, I participated in further education. Eventually, I became a respected health professional who now holds a senior position in a large health organisation I am a consultant for difficult presentions and a specialist lecturer and unit chair in a masters program. More recently I returned to university and gained an MBA. I remain single own my own house and will be a self-funded retiree. Hence from the time of gaining that initial degree I have paid considerable taxes and have received no benefits. My daughter is now an adult she also has been successful in her field has a tertiary education. owns her own home and is an active contributor to her community. I cringe to think where I and my daughter would be if there was no free education at that time

  16. The ruling class in this country do want public education that follows the separation of church and state.They hate that.They want tax payer money going to churches . That way the citizens stay brain dead.

  17. I don't understand how someone can be a billionaire and think they need more money? Fuck the rich and greedy bastards. They made their money off the backs of the rest of us.

  18. Special education protections in America's schools are still SEVERELY underfunded making these fragile people in continual jeopardy. The Trump administration is a direct threat to our most vulnerable citizens and those who teach and care for them. Civil rights laws are vital to equity in this country.

  19. Please report what she said…90% of women who say they were raped are lying Amy, not the miss quote you just gave.

  20. trump is the hench man for the corporate coup of america, this is like the health care bill throwing 22 million people off their insurance, this is tax cuts for billionaires and a sack of coal for the working class, this is neil gorsuch siding with an employer who fired a black guy for not dying on his job…   this is surrounding the white house with goldman sucks, this is trump selling weapons to every country on earth, this courts banning books about latino culture in arizona, this is rounding millions of latino's up around the country and making tax payers flip the bill for private prisons… and it goes on and on… capitalism is now eating the richest country on the planet.. austerity has come home to roost, and it will only get worse as long as the middle class continues to be pawns for these fascists.

  21. Sadly, Amy Goodman will eventually be recognized for the Zionist Gatekeeper that she is. As such, she ultimately supports the political status quo. Vote Green.

  22. Trump learned lots of words while in college, his fathers money made sure that he always got good grades. A nation where the poor have to work and bankrupt themselves to get an education and the rich can be as stupid as they like and will always get good grades and slide into high paying jobs.

  23. now they putting emphasis on discrimination….. just look at the inner city school where black children are not allow to take text books home and/or they are outdated

  24. College sexual assault kangaroo courts are an attempt to circumvent due process. Beyond a reasonable doubt? Bah, what nonsense, just condemn the accused. Obama really f*cked up with this.

  25. Amy Goodman are you asleep twice she incorrectly said for-profit colleges ,but it's for profit public K-12 schools she said colleges twice

  26. Karma is going to be such a demon to this troupe of undesirable rich blockheads.
    Karma can be beautiful, or it can be a bitch.
    It's about to show us how it can be a demon bitch in the not too distant future with this gang of fools.

  27. Thank you for this very informative video. It appears that DeVos is doing EXACTLY what I thought she intended to do, and I just hope there will be adequate measures withing our system to STOP her. While my suspicions are verified in this video, I am not reassured by anything said. 🙁

  28. Welcome to Trumpland – home of the uneducated and unhealthy powerless poor!
    Damn I'm happy I'm Scandinavian!
    Tax paid healthcare and education.
    Here we even pay students to take a education!

  29. When Trump said he would make America great again, a lot of people was arguing it should be like the 50's – back then I thought they ment 1950's, but it turned out to be the 1850's……

  30. She knows nothing about education, but she is the Secretary of Education of the US. The most terrible thing is that she is trying to move the money of public education to charter schools. It seems that most Americans don't care about this.

  31. Many departments are being financially gutted and Trump is installing people who not only don't have the people's best interest as motivation- but, in some cases, lobbyists are taking over and quietly changing the laws in their favor. Excellent article about this in Propublica. Candace Jackson, who made the statement that 90% of rapes are just two people who had dated, got drunk, hooked up, and the girl decides it was wrong, was hired by Devos for the position of victim advocate- ensuring that the colleges followed the legal protocol. I have paraphrased Jackson- so please check the article in Propublica. I found it all alarming.

  32. The ruling class in this country do NOT want public education, do not want separation of church and state they want a theocracy, that's why Betsy the CUNT Devos is secretary of education.

  33. Someone please tell me what we can do about her? I'm a low income college student and my education is threatened

  34. Our country is in free fall. Nothing matters any more. Decency, common sense, the rule of law – everything is out the window. DeVos has no business being secretary of education. Money is what got her that appointment so that she can implement segregation and apartheid in America.

  35. Public education is a right.
    Education prepares a person to engage with society.
    By developing a generation of ill-educated persons you are prescribing for the nation a populace of nincompoops or sycophants take your pick.

  36. Did NOT form cabinet of the best and brightest, rather got the most corrupt and nut cases !

  37. We left the us because it only offers education if you can pay for it.
    We are doing extremely well in Europe.

  38. DeVos family makes money from for profit schools. They are heavily invested in for profit schools, I believe it is k12 online education. Another reason to dump Trump, so we can get rid of DeVos.

  39. Students are slaves to dogma or the rebellion against it, both easily distracted by real life's need for $. Paying to be brainwashed, exactly how a self serving fiat system would be created and run if evil had control

  40. She's not smart the republicans ONLY wants MONEY this will not be good at all gops strategy is defund replace with bs that do not work

  41. Bestsy decks is a billonaire bitch who wants schools privatized so see Vann bar people of color from attending any schools of higher education. She wants get taught in calthic schools as the norm. This is not the type of government America wants.

  42. I love Betsy DeVos! I'm an educator and she will be the BEST thing that ever happened to our kids in school! She will expose the corrupt thinking of the last 30 years. Common core my ass!

  43. The LEFT has finally flipped, with disregard for anyone or anybody they are targeting anything that is WHITE, you just heard it right people, the radical LEFT a disgraceful bunch that is targeting all whites as Racists, Fascist. The DemonRats have run amok

  44. Check this out – apparently Mueller still has an active Grand Jury: Courtroom Surprise: Robert Mueller Grand Jury 'Continuing Robustly' | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

  45. Lord please bring back intelligence, integrity, honesty, and the like to the White House
    administration is it too much to ask Lord.

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