Betsy DeVos is being accused by experts of being "embarrassingly ignorant" and inadvertently praising segregation and Jim Crow in a statement on historically black colleges and universities released Monday night, Politico reports. "HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice," the education secretary said in the statement. DeVos added that HBCUs show that "more options" for students mean "greater access and greater equality." According to ABC News, people took to Twitter to decry DeVos' statement, and HBCUs quickly trended on social media.
One expert on HBCUs says DeVos' statement was "a whitewashing of US history." Another points out HBCUs didn't represent more choice for black students; they were usually the only choice following the Civil War. Even the Education Department's website acknowledges them as "often the only choice" for black students seeking higher education. A department spokesperson says DeVos' statement was taken out of context. DeVos was scheduled to speak to presidents from HBCUs on Tuesday, the same day President Trump is expected to sign an executive order related to the schools, the New York Times reports. (Read more historically black colleges stories.)