Education

Here's Video of Betsy DeVos Fleeing a Protester on Her Way to Pitbull's Miami Charter School

Here's Video of Betsy DeVos Fleeing a Protester on Her Way to Pitbull's Miami Charter School
via Miami New Times video

Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump's uniquely unqualified secretary of education, isn't particularly good at thinking on her feet. Asked why there ought to be guns in school during her confirmation hearing this year, she infamously opined that schools might need to protect themselves from bears.

So when a protester confronted DeVos at Miami's Florida International University today, she didn't offer any sort of reply. She just gave a sheepish wave and kept walking right into an elevator.

"You don't know anything about schools!" the protester, who is also an FIU student, shouted as she walked into the elevator. New Times obtained the video from the protester, a labor organizer who asked that his name be withheld because he has received hate mail in the past for his activism.

DeVos is in town today on her first tour through South Florida since she was (controversially) confirmed as education secretary. This morning, DeVos — a Christian fundamentalist — visited Overtown's CARE Elementary School. "CARE," of course, stands for "Christian Academy for Reaching Excellence." DeVos, who has never attended or worked inside a public learning institution, has funded anti-public-school think tanks for years. Those think tanks are adamant that public schools are "secularizing" children and turning them away from Christ. Really.


Then she stopped at FIU's Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences, where she met with the school's faculty (and a few students) in a meeting room to chat, mostly about tuition costs. The protester in the video cornered DeVos and asked her if her brother, Blackwater mercenary army founder Erik Prince, had anything to do with her appointment to the education department.

The Washington Post reported last week that the United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting in the Seychelles islands between Prince and Russian officials close to Vladimir Putin in order to set up a "back-channel line of communication" between Trump and Moscow.

"Secretary DeVos, can you tell us about your brother's deal with the United Arab Emirates and the Russians to buy your cabinet position?" the protester asked, while Secret Service agents escorted DeVos into the elevator.

Larger groups of protesters greeted DeVos outside the university. As she left the school in a Secret Service convoy, the demonstrators chanted "protect our schools!" outide her SUV:

DeVos, who is adamant that privately owned (but publicly funded) charter schools are a good idea, also visited the SLAM (Sports Leadership and Management) Academy in Little Havana. In keeping with the Trump administration's penchant for elevating talentless kooks and celebrities, SLAM is a charter school owned, in part, by the rapper Pitbull.

Update: DeVos actually made a speech next to Pitbull. ¡Dale!

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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.