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Dem Rep Skewers Betsy DeVos: 'Strike This Racist Research'

DeVos was on Capitol Hill to answer questions about her 2021 budget, and Rep. Clark took her to task for the racially biased research cited therein.

Cruella DeVil had to answer to a House Committee on Thursday about her proposed 2021 Education Department budget. Fortunately for multi-celled organisms everywhere, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) serves on that committee, and had many questions for Cruella to answer. In particular, Rep. Clark asked for clarification on whether DeVos wrote the budget, or if David Duke did.

I'm just kidding, but not by much.

REP. CLARK: Do YOU think that the disparity in discipline for pre-schoolers of Color COULD indicate a racial bias?

DEVOS: I suppose it certainly could, and, again, I think the bigger issue here is that we make sure that every opportunity to pursue an education that is going to unlock and unleash their personal and fullest potential.

REP. CLARK: Okay. Isn't it, though, the official policy, now, of the Dept. of Education that the cause of the disparate rates of discipline that we see with students of Color is explained by the fact that these children are just inherently pre-disposed to misbehave and disrupt the classroom more than white children? Isn't that your policy?

DEVOS: No.

REP. CLARK: No, it's not. That is the conclusion of the research you cited in your school safety report of 2019. Congress specifically asked you to strike all references to this report, which, interestingly, appeared in the Journal of Criminal Justice. Your official response within this budget is that you stand by this report and its conclusions. Isn't that right?

DEVOS: Congresswoman, do you have a question about the budget? Because we're here to talk about the budget.

REP. CLARK: Yes. In your FY21 budget, you responded that, quote, the Department of Education stands by this report that says children of Color are just more inherently likely to misbehave, and that explains the disparate rates of discipline.

DEVOS: I don't know where that would have fallen in our budget narrative...

REP. CLARK: We will get you the EXACT SECTION. Because it's right in your budget.

Are we clear on what this is? This is the head of the Department of Education using a report from a publication about criminal justice concluding that Black and brown kids as young as 3 years old are inherently more poorly behaved, and that is why they are disciplined more often. No interest whatsoever in acknowledging that there is bias against them on the part of the teachers, or exploring how to fix that bias in the adults that are the face of our education system. Obviously it's the 3-year-old's fault for being Black or brown.

DeVos smiles that the questions are open for public comment now, and people are welcome to make their feelings known, but Rep. Clark lays down the law on what DeVos really needs to do.

REP. CLARK: We certainly would like you to go ahead, undo what you put in your budget, STRIKE this racist research, make sure it's CRYSTAL clear that you do NOT buy into this theory that children of Color are disciplined because of who they are, and that they come to school with disruptive tendencies. THAT is what you put in your report. In your budget you say you stand by it.

WHY and HOW she didn't tell DeVos to drink bleach, I will never know, but she did finish her off with a devastating blow. Watch the second part of her questioning below.

Brava, Rep. Clark.

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