Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who served under former President Donald Trump, spoke at a “Moms for Liberty” summit on Saturday where she called for the Department of Education to be abolished.
“I personally think the Department of Education should not exist,” said DeVos, who believes that education should be left to the states and not federal government.
The event took place in in Tampa, Florida, which Axios described as “ground zero” in the fight for more parental involvement in education.
In June 2021, the Florida State Board of Education unanimously approved an amendment banning critical race theory from being taught in schools. In August, the state’s Governor, Ron DeSantis (R), banned mask mandates in schools. Later, in July of this year, DeSantis passed the “Parental Rights in Education” bill — dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics — which bans “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels.”
DeSantis also took part in the three-day conference. “So what we are looking to do is really help candidates who are walking the walk, who have strong values who are going to be there for parents and put the students first, and shine a light on that,” he said on Friday.
He added his support for parents who believe certain books need to be removed from school libraries, saying: “Some of these libraries you’ll have these elementary school middle school – and really just explicit and just not appropriate, and so parents need to be able to know that to be able to lodge objections.”
DeVos elaborated on her stance in a Sunday interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Shrink or do away with the Department of Education. I think that Republicans have talked about it for many, many years, but I think it actually would be feasible to do, practically speaking, by blocking grants to the states, which is what we proposed, in the last two years of our budget and presented to Congress to debate,” DeVos told DCNF.
“There was some interest among Republicans but not enough to get a lot of airspeed,” she added. “Just watching how the system has performed or not performed the last two years, I think makes this argument of shrinking the department to be much more potent.”
DeVos suggested expanding apprenticeship programs to the young. She noted that “the Trump administration established an industry that recognized apprenticeship programs, which then the Biden administration immediately did away with because it didn’t require participants to be union members.”
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