Betsy DeVos, Trump's pick for Education Secretary, appears to be having trouble with her very first job -- convincing us she's competent enough to do it. Under the pressure of Senator Tim Kaine's questioning, she appeared unable to answer even the most basic questions about how her office would function.

Kaine asked her: if a school takes government money, should it be held to the same outcome accountability standards. DeVos repeated the phrase "I support accountability" like that is exactly what the programmers decided on before she arrived at this hearing.

Kaine moved on.

DeVos on Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act

The most salacious bit, and the portion that most clearly demonstrates the trouble we are in, is Devos' answer to a question regarding the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act. When asked if a school takes government funding, should it be compelled to comply with the conditions of the act, DeVos waffled, and said that it was a matter "best left to the states." No, it very well isn't.

That's kind of the point of federal laws -- they're everywhere. A school that gets taxpayer funding can't reasonably decide which federal mandates to abide by and which ones to sleep on. Saying it should be left to the states is 1) dismissive, because it basically gets the monkey of DeVos' back, 2) problematic, considering Kaine's point that parents shouldn't have to move to ensure their kids get a quality education.

Who finds this answer satisfying?

Let's put it a different way: consider the widespread mantra that if people of color do not wish to be the subjects of police brutality, then they should comply with police officer orders. We will temporarily set aside that many of these cases are actually people resisting in ways that are constitutionally protected.

Compare that to the DeVos hearing. The most troubling aspect of all is that Kaine didn't ask DeVos about some archaic piece of dried up education legislation as a "Gotcha" question. He simply asked if her office would be willing to unequivocally stand for compliance with federal law, and she replied, at best, "Maybe."


If you got melanin, obey orders or die, even if they violate your rights. However, if you're Betsy DeVos, do whatever you please.