Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' hearing on her department's proposed budget before the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday didn't go much better than her appearance on "60 Minutes" last week, The Hill reports.
DeVos struggled to answer tough questions on school gun violence, LGBT rights, student loan oversight and racial disparities, resulting in several contentious back-and-forths with some Democrats on the panel.
Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said DeVos' "head is in the sand" in regards to racial bias, and pressed for more information about the Education Department's moves to roll back or delay several Obama-era regulations.
Specifically, Lee wanted to know why DeVos had sought to delay by two years a rule that sought to ensure that states use a uniform approach to make sure students of color aren't overrepresented in special education and why DeVos was reviewing policies meant to crack down on racial bias in school discipline.
DeVos said the department doesn't "tolerate discrimination. The office of civil rights is doing more with less. It's more efficient than before. Our budget protects and encourages minority students. It expands opportunities that target minority low-income students."
When DeVos said she failed to respond to a June letter from Lee on the issue because of the lack of Senate-confirmed staff, Lee said: "Madam Secretary, you just don't care much about civil rights of black and brown children. This is horrible."
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., hammered DeVos about a student loan policy that would place the student loan industry exclusively under the purview of the Trump administration, and at one point raised her voice and pointed her finger at the secretary.
"Despite your statements all morning about supporting states' rights, what your office has done, you've issued a declaration to pre-empt state regulations on companies that collect student loans," DeLauro said.
Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said DeVos' budget "includes over a billion dollars for school choice but no new money for special education."
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