Known as the U.S. Secretary of Education appointed by Donald Trump, Betsy Devos has long promoted the privatization of public schools through vouchers, rolled back protections for vulnerable children, and called for deep cuts to federal funding. For someone who has never been a teacher, a school administrator, and has not even attended a public school to be nominated to the most vital position within the Education Department, has never happened in U.S. history. If it weren't already blatantly obvious, there is a reason why she is the only secretary who has zero experience with public schools.
It was not long after struggling to win confirmation that Devos threw support behind rollback of protections for trans students; in fact, it was her first act as education secretary. Not even a month later, Devos endorsed Trump's budget that would essentially slash funding for the Department of Education by 13.5%. Moving along, she has attempted to strip her employees of collective bargaining rights, endorsed a plan to place guns in schools with federal funding intended for academics and student enrichment, and was even placed in contempt of court for enforcing loans on defrauded college students. Betsy Devos has perfectly laid out her awful record on public education.
With all of this being said, less than 2 weeks ago, Devos reintroduced rules that will govern the way schools around the U.S. handle sexual harassment and assault; it was initially proposed nearly 2 years ago. In the midst of all the chaos surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, the Education Department released the final version of the rules while the majority of the population was distracted, rightfully so. Some rules established include the requirement that schools allow direct cross-examination, permission for schools to set a standard of evidence necessary that favors those who are accused, and creates a narrower definition of sexual harassment for schools to utilize. The Department's main reasoning behind this series of events is to provide "essential" protection for those who are falsely accused. However, a study conducted of 2,219 American adults revealed that only 2% of men and 1% of women said they had ever been accused, while one-third of respondents reported ever perpetuating sexual harassment or assault. This represents how rare it is for accusations to be made to begin with, much less accusations that are falsely made.
All in all, this set of rules to supposedly protect the rare occurrence of false accusations being made is a cover-up for disregarding Title IX that bars sex discrimination in education and ultimately making it significantly more difficult to come out as a survivor of sexual harassment or assault than it already is. Although Betsy Devos is continuing her advocacy to suppress survivors of sexual violence, we must rise above as a society and simply believe all women.