U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will speak at the Education Writers Association at its national seminar in May, the first time she has agreed to appear before a crowd of hundreds of probing education journalists.
EWA announced Thursday that the secretary will appear at its May 6-8 meeting in Baltimore. She will deliver remarks and then sit down with Erica Green, an education reporter with The New York Times, for a conversation and questions from the association’s members. (The day and time of DeVos’s appearance was not yet set but will be soon, EWA said.)
“Every previous U.S. education secretary has come to EWA’s National Seminar and taken questions, and we’re so glad that Secretary DeVos is following in their footsteps,” Caroline W. Hendrie, the executive director of EWA said via email. “In my view, it’s vitally important for government agencies to make their leaders accessible to members of the media.”
DeVos had declined invitations to the two previous EWA national seminars since she became secretary under President Donald Trump’s administration. Hendrie expressed disappointment in 2017 when DeVos declined an invitation to attend that year’s session, which was held in Washington. (Some EWA members went to an unrelated event at a Washington, D.C., charter school on the last day of the seminar, where DeVos was making an appearance and took a few questions from reporters.)
Hendrie said at the time that she heard from the secretary’s staff that DeVos had considered the invite but could not make it work on her schedule. DeVos dealt with a number of public relations challenges during her first months in office, and she has spoken often to ideologically friendly audiences.
As Hendrie said, every U.S. secretary of education has addressed EWA at least once, and four recent secretaries prior to DeVos spoke to the group during their first years in office.
This year’s EWA seminar is at Johns Hopkins Unversity’s School of Education in Baltimore, with a theme of student success, safety, and well-being. EWA members work for outlets large and small in various media, and the seminar typically offers discussions with educators and expert sources as well as celebrates education journalism of the past year.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.