Federal News in Brief

DeVos Espouses Civics, Civility

By Alyson Klein — September 25, 2018 1 min read

–ALYSON KLEIN

And she criticized colleges and universities for putting what she described as severe limitations on students’ freedom of speech and expression, citing conservative students who say their views were sidelined by more-liberal college administrations.

During her speech last week, DeVos said that schools need to teach students to engage with others with whom they might disagree. And she said that needs to begin at the K-12 level, where she noted that civics education hasn’t been a priority.

“But I think it’s really important that students learn about the history of this nation that they are here to actually protect and enhance from this day forward,” DeVos said at the National Constitution Center, a nonpartisan interactive museum.

Her comments echo those of more than half the principals surveyed earlier this year by the Education Week Research Center. Fifty-two percent said their schools devote “too little” time to civics instruction, while 48 percent say they give about the right amount.

At the postsecondary level, DeVos said, colleges aren’t allowing students to hear perspectives that administrators may disagree with.

“Administrators too often attempt to shield students from ideas they subjectively decide are ‘hateful’ or ‘offensive’ or ‘injurious,’ or ones they just don’t like,” she said. “This patronizing practice assumes students are incapable of grappling with, learning from, or responding to ideas with which they disagree.”

The secretary also said social media makes it easy to lower the level of discourse. “It’s easy to be nasty hiding behind screens and Twitter handles,"she said.

During a question-and-answer session, a high schooler asked DeVos whether “the idea of hiding behind screens and hiding behind social media, don’t you feel that example should be brought to our current government?”

In response, DeVos reiterated her previous point. “We’re best off when we’re able to sit down and talk about things that we may agree on or disagree on and talk about them face to face or in a small group setting.”

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the September 26, 2018 edition of Education Week as DeVos Espouses Civics, Civility

Events

School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: What Did We Learn About Schooling Models This Year?
After a year of living with the pandemic, what schooling models might we turn to as we look ahead to improve the student learning experience? Could year-round schooling be one of them? What about online
School & District Management Webinar What's Ahead for Hybrid Learning: Putting Best Practices in Motion
It’s safe to say hybrid learning—a mix of in-person and remote instruction that evolved quickly during the pandemic—is probably here to stay in K-12 education to some extent. That is the case even though increasing
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Building Equitable Systems: Moving Math From Gatekeeper to Opportunity Gateway
The importance of disrupting traditional American math practices and adopting high-quality math curriculum continues to be essential for changing the trajectory of historically under-resourced schools. Building systems around high-quality math curriculum also is necessary to
Content provided by Partnership for L.A. Schools

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal CDC: Nearly 80 Percent of K-12, Child-Care Workers Have Had at Least One COVID-19 Shot
About four out of five teachers, school staffers, and child-care workers had first COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of March, CDC says.
2 min read
John Battle High School teacher Jennifer Daniel receives her COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 11, 2021. Teachers received their first vaccine during an all-day event at the Virginia Highlands Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Va.
John Battle High School teacher Jennifer Daniel receives her COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 11at the Virginia Highlands Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Va.
David Crigger/Bristol Herald Courier via AP
Federal Ed. Dept. to Review Title IX Rules on Sexual Assault, Gender Equity, LGBTQ Rights
The review could reopen a Trump-era debate on sexual assault in schools, and it could spark legal discord over transgender student rights.
4 min read
Symbols of gender.
iStock/Getty
Federal Q&A EdWeek Q&A: Miguel Cardona Talks Summer Learning, Mental Health, and State Tests
In an interview after a school reopening summit, the education secretary also addressed teachers' union concerns about CDC guidance.
10 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during a press briefing at the White House on March 17, 2021.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona speaks during a press briefing at the White House on March 17.
Andrew Harnik/AP
Federal Senators Press Deputy Education Secretary Nominee on School Closures, Lost Learning Time
If confirmed, San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten would be the Education Department's number two as it urges in-person learning.
5 min read
San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten speaks at Lincoln High School in San Diego during the State of the District Address on Oct. 20, 2015.
San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten would be second in command at the U.S. Department of Education if confirmed as deputy secretary.
Misael Virgen/San Diego Union-Tribune