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Obama-era Education Secretary: ‘Betsy DeVos was a disaster for education’

6/25/2021 | Aarthi Swaminiathan

Yahoo Finance

The Education Department (ED) under the Trump administration unleashed a lot more harm than good for students across the country, according to former Education Secretary John B. King Jr

“The reality is [former Education Secretary] Betsy DeVos was a disaster for education,” King said on Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “It’s true for K-12. It’s also true for higher ed.”

King, who served as Education Secretary during the final months of President Obama’s second term and is currently campaigning to become governor of Maryland, described DeVos’ legacy as focused on rolling back Obama-era policies and appointing officials who didn’t have the best interests of students in mind.

“She essentially, along with the Trump administration, put folks from for-profit predatory colleges that were taking advantage of students in charge of higher education policy,” King explained. “She moved away from the efforts we made in the Obama administration to crack down on those folks… She moved away from giving debt forgiveness, particularly to those students who were taken advantage of. And she tried to move policy towards steering more students to those bad actor colleges.”

 The Biden administration has been slowly reinstating some of the Obama-era measures, such as loan forgiveness for defrauded students, and is considering further reform. 

King commended the Biden administration’s efforts and proposals for heavy investment in education while also putting his support behind the idea of student loan forgiveness

“We’ve got to remove the anchor of this debt around them,” King said. “That’s really a product of public policy mistakes over the last 30 years.”

 Prominent Democrats have repeatedly urged a skeptical Biden to cancel $50,000 in federally-held student loan debt via executive action (as opposed to legislation passed by Congress).

King also stressed that leveling the playing field for all races in education will be a a big issue for him in the months ahead as he seeks to lead Maryland.

“It is not good enough to go back to how it was before COVID,” King said. “Before COVID, we had challenges of racial inequity, we had challenges of an economy that was leaving too many folks behind. … And so, I’m running for governor because I believe deeply that we can build a more, just an equitable future in our state. And that state government can be a force for good in people’s lives.”