I know it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t show hypocrisy. It’s not technically a lie. It doesn’t show allegiance to Russia or rich donors or celebrities. It doesn’t cost one person a job. It doesn’t hurt security. It doesn’t embolden our enemies. I know it doesn’t matter the way other things matter. But it matters.
You’ll hear some say that this statement is tone deaf. They’ll say it’s propaganda to support an agenda. Others will say it’s a unique perspective on history. I say it’s vile, disgusting and hurtful.
“(HBCUs) started from the fact that there were too many students in America who did not have equal access to education.”
That’s true. Legally black students were barred from attending white schools. In that respect, based on segregation, fundamental systemic denial of opportunity and Jim Crow laws, they did not have equal access to education. This is not the same as an under-funded public school. There are already public schools in place with the infrastructure to support and educate children of all races.
“They saw that the system wasn’t working, that there was an absence of opportunity, so they took it upon themselves to provide the solution.”
Again, correct. This “absence of opportunity” was law. It wasn’t just living in a bad neighborhood or not wanting to take a long bus ride. It was illegal for black students to attend white Universities. They took it upon themselves because there was no other option.
“HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice.”
No black child went to Georgetown University, toured the grounds, sat with their parents and said, “Hmmm. I don’t think it has the standards I’m looking for. Let’s go found a black school nearby.” Follow me here. This gets complicated. The idea of school choice is that there’s a choice. “My daughter, Maya, was a real pioneer when it came to dinner choice last night. She could eat what I made or she could not eat.” To use historic segregation to support your anti-public school agenda today is indefensible. We mustn’t forget that the school choice movement was born of white parents unwilling to have their children in classrooms with their black peers. They tired of paying for the white school and pushed to have their tax dollars fund their segregation. She now uses historical segregation to push the concept today. She either knows this is awful and insensitive and did it anyway because the agenda is more important than decorum, or she really didn’t know. From the top educator in America the only choices we’re left with are that she’s hateful or she’s ignorant.
“They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality.”
That’s absolutely true! Of course, that has nothing to do with historically black colleges & universities. They could choose to start their own or continue being limited in education. Again, this is not the same thing as her beloved charter schools. She’s choosing not to fund the existing publics schools. She’s choosing to undermine them. She’s choosing to blame them. The only choice in this matter belongs to Ms. DeVos.
“I look forward to working with the White House to elevate the role of HBCUs in this administration and to solve the problems we face in education today.”
Based on yesterday’s meeting, it sounds like that working together means photo ops of black people with Kellyanne Conway’s feet on the couch. Listening to the administrators from those HBCUs that were asked to attend, they were promised a meeting to share ideas. They got a photo in the Oval Office and ushered out the side door.
Again, I know this doesn’t matter. It doesn’t mean anything for the economy or for security. It doesn’t matter. But it should.