Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and President Trump haven’t been on the same page lately when speaking on higher education. While DeVos calls the higher education system a failure, President Trump calls it the the best in the world.
On public school education, the two appear to remain of the same opinion as last year. “American carnage” was the term President Trump used to describe K-12 public school education in his 2017 inauguration speech. Prior to her own calling as U.S. Education Secretary, DeVos referred to a public school education as a “dead end.”
Perhaps DeVos’s confirmation hearing in January could’ve been an indicator that lower education wasn’t her only area of disapproval. She continued to vigorously support her efforts of steering taxpayer dollars away from traditional systems, saying that it was time to move towed a newer model from the one-size-fits-all approach taken by traditional preschool to college education systems.
During the most recent U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting, DeVos recalled a conversation she had with the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. He had asked her: “Why hasn’t America’s higher ed bubble burst?” She went on to describe in her address how the ambassador couldn’t understand why U.S. business would rely on education systems verses simply creating their own internal programs to equip a workforce with all the knowledge and skills needed for the jobs.
She also noted that educators and businesses often work side-by-side on the higher education curriculum in other parts of the world to ensure workers are being taught meaningful, useful skills.
On the other hand, President Trump delivered a much different message than DeVos the following day at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. He touted America as having the best higher education system and workforce in the world, and he urged other countries to invest in America.
Funding was slashed for higher education in the administration’s first education budget proposal. Congress is currently examining federal laws as they apply to higher education. One particular element of higher education Congress is looking to rewrite is in potentially decreasing federal aid. They’re also considering who qualifies and how and to whom the funds should be allotted.