After meeting with several presidents and chancellors of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) secretary of education released a statement to the public about structural reform of educational funding and how important funding is for HBCUs. However, her understanding seems to be a bit off. DeVos states:
“Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have done this since their founding. They started from the fact that there were too many students in America who did not have equal access to education. They saw that the system wasn’t working, that there was an absence of opportunity, so they took it upon themselves to provide the solution.”
For the many students and graduates of HBCUs this may come off as a slap in the face. HBCUs were not created because of a voluntary choice; Historically Black Colleges and Universities were created because there was no other choice. Blacks were not allowed to attend other institutions of higher learning, which we now refer to as predominantly white institutions (PWIs) due to segregation laws. Her statement went on to say:
“HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice. They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality. Their success has shown that more options help students flourish.”
HBCUs were built as an ONLY OPTION for African-Americans it wasn’t because of “school choice” there were no other options afforded to people of color at that time. Clearly DeVos should take her position as Secretary of Education more seriously and conduct further research on issues such as this and more importantly the law that was implemented at the time i.e. Plessy v. Ferguson 1896, a law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court “separate but equal” before releasing any more backwards, one-sided, uneducated, whitewa statements such as this.
Roland Martin also educated Besty DeVos on HBCUs and the real reason why they were created; “it wasn’t simply a lack of access it was because of white supremacy, it was segregation.” Here is the full clip on Roland Martin’s thoughts