Betsy DeVos bans journalists from her US Mayors Conference lecture


Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors will be closed to the public, and to the press. The move is hardly surprising, but it is pathetic.

Betsy DeVos, the billionaire secretary of education who abhors civil rights and got her role simply by being a GOP megadonor who wants to defund public schools, has never been known for making herself accessible to the American people.

But in her upcoming talk to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, titled "Preparing the Workforce of the Future," she is going so far as to completely shut out the media.

According to Politico education reporter Caitlin Emma, a spokeswoman for the event says DeVos’ talk is closed press "at the request of the secretary." But as Emma noted, "Similar conference sessions on topics like climate change, gun violence and substance abuse treatment are open press."


Perhaps DeVos has good reason for hiding: Some of her public functions have resulted in her being met with protestors, even in states and towns that support Donald Trump.

And even addressing a favorable audience can end badly for her. After she cited a survey from the American Federation of Teachers on teacher stress at a recent corporate school reform talk, the union pointed out that their survey found teachers almost unanimously felt disrespected by her.

DeVos appears to be aware that a long string of indefensible policy decisions at the Department of Education have made her Trump’s least popular Cabinet secretary, with one poll giving her a net disapproval of 12 points.

Some of those decisions include directing colleges and universities to let accused rapists directly interrogate their victims, taking a meeting with a rape apologist "men’s rights" group, canceling debt relief to students who were scammed by for-profit colleges, and eliminating 72 federal guidelines to help public schools accommodate students with disabilities.

All of which goes to show that DeVos can hardly be considered a credible authority on "preparing the workforce of the future." And her unwillingness to subject her own speech to review by the press seems to indicate that she knows it.