Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos attends an event in the State Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on August 12, 2020.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos attends an event in the State Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on August 12, 2020. (Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

'Bye-Bye, Betsy DeVos. You Won't Be Missed,' Says Sanders as Billionaire Education Secretary Attacks Push for Tuition-Free College

"What do you call a billionaire who registered a $40 million, 164-foot yacht in the Cayman Islands to avoid $2.4 million in U.S. taxes, while undermining public schools? The worst Education Secretary in the history of America."

Jake Johnson

Sen. Bernie Sanders late Tuesday called Betsy DeVos "the worst education secretary in the history of America" and made abundantly clear that he's not mourning her imminent departure after the billionaire school privatization zealot lashed out at popular proposals to cancel student loan debt and make public colleges and universities tuition-free.

"Because we were all just dying to know what the unqualified billionaire who made this problem worse thinks about helping people."
—Sen. Elizabeth Warren

"What do you call a billionaire who registered a $40 million, 164-foot yacht in the Cayman Islands to avoid $2.4 million in U.S. taxes, while undermining public schools? The worst education secretary in the history of America," tweeted the Vermont senator, a leading proponent of student debt cancellation and tuition-free higher education. "Bye-bye, Betsy DeVos. You won't be missed."

In a speech at an Education Department financial aid conference on Tuesday, the outgoing education secretary dismissed as "government gift-giving" proposals to forgive crippling student loan debt and eliminate tuition for public colleges and universities.

"We've heard shrill calls to cancel, to forgive, to make it all free. Any innocuous label out there can't obfuscate what it really is: Wrong," said DeVos, who last year proposed handing the federal government's $1.6 trillion student loan portfolio over to a "stand-alone government corporation." Critics slammed the proposal as an attempt to prevent the next president from canceling any of the debt.

President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to forgive a portion of the student debt held by tens of millions of Americans and make public colleges and universities tuition-free for families with incomes below $125,000 a year. The former vice president has not yet announced his pick to succeed DeVos.

In response to DeVos' remarks Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)—one of many lawmakers and activists pressuring Biden to use his authority to cancel student loan debt—tweeted sardonically, "Because we were all just dying to know what the unqualified billionaire who made this problem worse thinks about helping people."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Critics Warn Biden 'Summit for Democracy' Will Highlight Democrats' Failures at Home

"President Biden can't champion democracy across the globe without fulfilling his promise to protect our voting rights at home."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Like a Teenager Promising to Clean Their Room in 30 Years': Biden Net-Zero Climate Goal for 2050 Ridiculed

"2050 is an extremely weak goal for the federal government to free itself from climate-heating pollution. It ignores existing technology and adds decades to GSA's own commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2025."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Should Cancel Student Debt or Watch $85 Billion Evaporate From US Economy: Analysis

Far-reaching cancellation enacted by Biden could add more than $173 billion to the nation's GDP in 2022 alone.

Kenny Stancil ·


Given Cover by Red-Baiting GOP, Corporate Dems Rebuked for Tanking Biden Nominee for Top Bank Regulator

"If you think that Senate Democrats rose up to [Republicans'] shameful display of modern McCarthyism by rallying around President Biden's nominee or her ideas that banking should work for the middle class, then you don't know the soul of today's Democratic Party," wrote one columnist.

Julia Conley ·


'S.O.S.!': Groups in Red States Nationwide Plead With Democrats to Pass Voting Rights Bill

"We can tell you firsthand that our Republican senators have no interest in joining this effort."

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo