Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is isolating herself within her 22,000-square-foot Michigan estate even as she pushes to reopen schools nationwide amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
A spokesperson for the Department of Education pushed back against the reports.
“That’s simply not true,” the spokesperson told Salon via email. “Secretary DeVos has held 9 roundtables, 4 briefings, 30 calls with governors, 62 calls with state superintendents, 28 interviews and 13 conference calls about this pandemic. She provided 7 major flexibilities, took 5 steps to protect students’ rights, and made $30B for schools available in 30 days.”
However, NBC News reported that it could not find records of any public events held by DeVos this year.
DeVos has concurred with President Donald Trump on the matter of reopening schools despite the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. As recently as last month, DeVos found herself at the center of controversy for saying she is “seriously” considering withholding funds from schools that don’t reopen.
Speaking to Fox News personality Tucker Carlson on July 7, Devos said there was “no reason to withhold full-time education,” adding that withholding funds from schools that don’t reopen is not off the table.
“Well, that’s definitely something to be looked at. The reality is most of the education funding comes from the state and local level, so in excess of 90 percent of it does,” she said. “But what the president and all those at a roundtable today made very clear is the expectation that kids have got to continue their learning. There is no reason to withhold full-time education.”
She added: “We are looking at this very seriously. This is a very serious issue across the country. Kids have got to continue learning, schools have got to open up. There has got to concerted effort to address the needs of all kids, and adults who are fearmongering and making excuses have simply got to stop doing it, and turn their attention on what is right for students and for their families.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.