News & Politics

DeVos Says Discrimination Is ‘Not Necessarily’ the Cause of Racist Policies

The education secretary has been targeting minority students since she took the office.

Photo Credit: Michael Vadon

Betsy DeVos has placed a two-year postponement on an Obama-era rule that would have gone into effect July 1. The rule was designed to protect minority special needs students from racist polices after some studies show minority students are placed in special education classes at a higher rate, and are disciplined at a higher rate than their non-minority peers.

Despite the evidence, the Education Dept. has placed a notice in the Federal Register stating it believes "the racial disparities in the identification, placement, or discipline of children with disabilities are not necessarily evidence of, or primarily caused by, discrimination," as Politico reports.

The rule is also designed to ensure that schools are funding special education classes appropriately.

DeVos has been targeting minority students since she became Education Secretary.

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One of her first acts was to revoke Obama-era guidance that helped school administrators protect the rights of transgender students.

She also has made clear she does not oppose anti-LGBT discrimination, claiming "school choice" resolves the issue by giving parents and students options to go to schools that don't discriminate. Weeks later in 2017 she told the U.S. Senate she would not work to prevent or prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ students.

Earlier this year DeVos quietly changed the Education Department's official policy on handling discrimination complaints from transgender students, and dismissed without completing hundreds of investigations.

During her confirmation hearing DeVos refused to say children with disabilities deserve equal protection in schools, and in fact admitted she was "confused" by the federal laws.

DeVos last year quietly eliminated dozens of documents on civil rights protections for students with disabilities.

And last October she signaled that she would be scrapping the Obama-era rule that would protect minority students from being placed disproportionally in classes for students with special needs, or disproportionally punished.