Betsy DeVos Backpedals After Saying HBCUs Were School Choice Pioneers

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Betsy DeVos Backpedals After Saying HBCUs Were School Choice Pioneers
The education secretary said historically black schools were an early example of school choice. She later walked back that statement.
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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos tried to make a case for school choice programs. But she upset a lot of people in the process.

After a listening session with leaders from historically black colleges and universities, she issued a statement saying, "HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice."

But that's not really the case. Historically black schools were the only choice for many students of color before integration.

Even the Department of Education's website notes that HBCUs were founded out of necessity — not choice — because black students "were generally denied admission to traditionally white institutions."

DeVos' critics say her statement shows how out of touch she is with the students she's supposed to be serving.

Sen. Cory Booker wrote DeVos' comparison "is a disservice to the nobly defiant and pioneering work that HBCUs have done for black students and our nation."

DeVos later walked back the statement and acknowledged HBCUs were founded "out of necessity, in the face of racism, and in the aftermath of the Civil War."