February 28, 2017 Statement
It’s clearer every day in the US that our leaders will not defend what matters most. This reality hit home again for me last week when newly-confirmed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was quoted as saying that she “would be fine” with the Department of Education being eliminated.
In a speech last week focused on community colleges, DeVos doubled-down on her commitment to turn these institutions into vocational schools and certificate mills—saying nothing about improving transfer rates to 4-year institutions or cultivating equity and student success on campuses.
Painfully unqualified for the position she’s been given, DeVos herself has admitted she never gave thought to this role, and, unsurprisingly, she has yet to issue an outline of her priorities or plans. This Trump appointee is the latest example of a dangerous and increasing level of willful ignorance among our leaders to bolster and protect the things that matter most to us.
The administration’s ongoing effort to elevate ignorance within our government has made all of us at CUE more committed to our campaign to Make America Just and provide others with the means to combat injustice. I’m excited to help unveil a new series of tools designed to enable education leaders to carry out practices and strategies that will increase equity and fairness in higher education policy.
The result of an intensive collaboration between CUE researchers and Lumina Foundation, these tools provide guidance to government leaders and policymakers towards building equity-focused higher education policies. They help advance the aim of increasing the number of states with higher education attainment goals that address closing the gap for historically marginalize student populations.
We’re inviting leaders to use CUE’s new tools—available for free on our website—to carry out practices and strategies that will help achieve equity in higher education policy. We stand ready as well to support those efforts—and to fight to defend what matters even when our government will not.