On Wednesday, President Donald Trump again insisted that schools reopen despite the growing coronavirus pandemic. He and DeVos even threatened to cut federal funding to schools that don’t reopen.
DeVos blamed “fear-mongering” and “making excuses” for school closures due to the pandemic.
“They must fully open,” she said. “And they must be fully operational.”
DeVos is not an educator and had no experience in public education before being elevated to run the Department of Education. That inspired Biden’s vow about her replacement if he wins the election:
DeVos was one of Trump’s most controversial picks, and after her Senate confirmation vote ended in a 50-50 tie, she became the first cabinet member to take office via the vice president casting a tie-breaking vote.
Since then, she has redirected taxpayer money to private and religious schools and fought to eliminate key protections for students. In December, The Guardian described her as “the billionaire Republican destroying public education.”
Biden also vowed last year to nominate a teacher to the position if he defeated Trump.
“First thing, as president of United States ― not a joke ― first thing I will do is make sure that the secretary of education is not Betsy DeVos, it is a teacher,” he said.
And last week, Biden said educators should have more say in the new “teacher-oriented” Department of Education.
“You should have more input on what you teach, how you teach it and when you teach it,” he said in a webcam address to the National Education Association last week, according to Education Week. “You are the ones in the classroom, you should have more input.”
Given that history, Biden’s supporters cheered the promise. His tweet received more than 200,000 likes in a matter of hours.