U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said that after a series of high-profile arrests involving college admissions, it’s clear that the college admissions is unfair.
Her comments came after 50 people were charged by the Justice Department with bribing sports coaches and cheating on the SAT in order to get their children into elite colleges.
“Students need to be considered on their merit. And this plays into the narrative about things just not being fair for everyone,” DeVos said in an interview on Fox News. “All Americans want things to be fair and they are clearly not.”
DeVos said she’s unsure what, if any, role her department will play to help the Justice Department, which is taking the lead on the case.
“We are still researching and looking into how the department might interface with this,” she said.
She said the department will consider if any of the laws and regulations under its jurisdiction have been broken. Prosecutors have said colleges are not targets of their criminal case.
DeVos said the lack of equity extends to K-12 education as well. “We don’t have the same opportunities for all students in K-12 education, we don’t in higher education. This administration is really advocating for equal opportunity for all students,” she said.
She talked up school choice legislation introduced in the House and Senate that would offer a federal tax credit to individuals and companies that donate to state-level scholarship granting organizations, similar to those already in place in 18 states.
These organizations could use the funding to cover private school tuition for students, or pay for pre-kindergarten, afterschool programs, dual-enrollment courses, tutoring, and more. Advocates for public education, though, worry that the program would ultimately siphon off dollars for public schools. The legislation is unlikely to go far in Congress.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Photo: Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos listens to a question during a student town hall at National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on Sept. 17. (Matt Rourke/AP)