GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — One week after U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos generated a buzzstorm with a statement in Washington, D.C. about undocumented students, she returned to her friendlier home turf in West Michigan on Tuesday.
DeVos toured the Grand Rapids Public Museum School, and was all smiles as she checked out classrooms and exhibits, and participated in a roundtable talk with students and educators. She has given the educational programs there high marks before, for innovation.
DeVos has been taking “Rethink School” tours over the past year to highlight the creative ways in which state-based educational leaders are designing programs to meet the needs of students in K-12 and higher education. The theme ties in with her support for charter schools.
But the Education Secretary drew a backlash from critics following her remarks at a House Committee on Education & Workforce hearing May 22. She was quoted by numerous media outlets as saying schools should be given authority to decide whether undocumented students should be turned over to Immigration & Customs Enforcement officials. Or allowed to call immigration officials about undocumented students, anyway.
Immigration advocates from the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups – including some members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus – reportedly voice concern with that policy statement.