EXCLUSIVE: Former Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said it is “appalling” to see close ties between radical groups pushing critical race theory and the Biden administration, which came under fire this week for promoting a radical activist group’s manual advocating for educators to “disrupt Whiteness and other forms of oppression.”
“[The Biden administration] is continuing to claim that they are not promoting critical race theory… but the link in the back to school manual was uncovered yesterday and there are ties between the deputy secretary and others in this admin directly to the Abolitionist Teaching Network group who have been pushing this whole issue in a major way,” DeVos said during an exclusive interview with Fox News on Thursday.
“There are many ties inside and outside of the administration and tying directly to the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) and the NEA (National Education Association) and all of the people who are supposed to be focused on doing the right thing for kids. And it is appalling.”
DeVos slammed critical race theory as promoting a “twisted and warped” view of America.
“It is a twisted and warped view of America and America’s history and America’s aspirations,” she said, “It teaches kids to hate their country, to be suspicious of one another, to either be considered an oppressor or an oppressed, and it doesn’t encourage any individual to develop themselves.”
If anything, it’s “massively divisive” more than anything else, said DeVos.
The Biden administration said that its promotion of the radical group, Abolitionist Teaching Network, in the department’s back to school guidance was an “error.”
However, DeVos refuted the administration’s claim that it was an “error,” telling Fox News that is “absolutely false.”
“Having been there and having endured the [internal Education Department] process for many many different documents, I know very well that this was not a mistake, it was intentional.”
DeVos added that she urges “parents to continue to have their voices heard and speak up when critical race theory is creeping into schools.”
The former secretary also weighed in on Biden’s controversial pick to head the Education Department’s civil rights division, Catherine Lhamon, and the anticipated move to roll back Title IX regulations protecting due process in campus sexual assault cases, which DeVos enacted in 2020.
“As far as nominations go, Catherine Lhamon is the worst of the worst,” DeVos told Fox News. She said the notion Lhamon could continue to push Obama-era policies as head of the civil rights division, including establishing racial quotas, allowing biological males to use female bathrooms, and rolling back due process rights, is a “horrifying idea.”
Referring to a New York Post op-ed published Wednesday, DeVos stated, “If she does get confirmed for that post again, instead of the office for civil rights, it will be the office for critical race theory.”
Lhamon testified before the Senate last week that she would uphold DeVos’s Title IX regulations even though she claimed it lets students “rape and sexually harass students with impunity.”
DeVos responded to Biden’s nominee’s controversial “rape with impunity” remarks, saying it is an “absolute falsehood.”
“That should be disqualifying for anyone who is up for that position. I can’t imagine how any thinking senator could vote for someone who alleges something as absolutely false as she did.”
The Title IX regulations enacted in 2020 were designed to secure the due process rights of students by ensuring that colleges presume a student accused of sexual harassment or assault is innocent until proven guilty. The changes to the law would require colleges to allow live hearings and provide forums for cross examination of witnesses of sexual assault.
Critics slammed the Trump-era guidance, claiming that the changes to include live questioning could be traumatic for survivors and could make it harder for victims to come forward.
DeVos responded to that criticism, telling Fox News that Democrats are “playing to left-wing base and left-wing allies.” She accused critics of failing to actually read the text of the Title IX due process protections, which she argues are “fair and balanced.”
She also added that it is hypocritical that Democrats defended Biden’s due process rights when he was accused of sexual harassment on the campaign trail, but constantly deny those rights to students on campus.
The Biden administration has signaled that it will roll back the Trump-era 2020 regulations on Title IX in the near future, as it undergoes a months long review period.