DeVos’ Bizarre Claim About Historically Black Colleges

DeVos’ Bizarre Claim About Historically Black Colleges March 1, 2017

Donald Trump had a meeting with the leaders of some of the nation’s top Historically Black Colleges and Universities at the White House, an occasion for which Education Secretary Betsy DeVos hauled out one of the most ridiculous arguments you’ll ever hear.


Following President Trump’s meeting with leaders of Historically Black Colleges and Universities on Monday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos released a statement applauding the schools as “real pioneers when it comes to school choice.”

“They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality,” she continued. “Their success has shown that more options help students flourish.”

But lauding HBCUs as “real pioneers when it comes to school choice” overlooks the fact that they were historically the only options available to black students denied entry to traditionally white institutions.

And because states have historically prioritized white schools — many of which necessitated the formation of HBCUs by refusing to integrate — HBCUs have been persistently underfunded.

Seriously, using HBCUs as an example of how wonderful her idea of school choice is just mind-numbingly stupid. They show the exact opposite. Leaving aside the fact that she is comparing colleges to elementary and secondary schools (there already is school choice in college, Betsy, you don’t just have to go to the local state-funded school), HBCUs are actually an example of what happens when schools lock out anyone who doesn’t fit their profile — white, wealthy, usually Christian — and deny equal opportunities to everyone else. That’s an argument against school choice, not for it.

I bet she thinks separate black and white hotels and restaurants were a great example of “hospitality choice” too.

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!