On Tuesday, after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos problematically compared of Historically Black Colleges and Universities to school choice, graffiti appeared on the campus of Howard University.
In the statement issued by DeVos, she called HBCUs “real pioneers when it comes to school choice.” However, as history would have it, HBCUs were created in response to Black students being denied the same choice and freedoms to attend any educational institution.
The president of Howard University, Wayne A.I. Frederick, met with DeVos after she became the Education Secretary. His decision to meet with her inspired much anger and protests from students around the campus.
Many believe the pro-HBCU image Trump's administration is trying to portray is just a facade which will amount to nothing.
This past week, Donald Trump hosted leaders and presidents from HBCUs across the country to sign an executive order for the schools. However, many are now realizing the order will not increase funding to the schools.
"Many had high hopes about this meeting. There was much advance chatter about it being “historic,” and there were many signals from key Trump administration officials that they would surprise HBCUs with favorable treatment. Given my experience in the Obama administration, I knew this would require an extraordinary announcement. Why? Because I knew that President Obama had invested $3 billion more in HBCUs in his first six years than President Bush invested in his final six years. Therefore, since President Trump pledged to “do more for HBCUs than any other president has done before,” we could have reasonably expected him to get started by announcing at least an additional $500 million to HBCUs…this year! And beside the expectation of new funding, there was advance talk of changes like an aspirational goal of 5 to 10 percent for federal agency funding to HBCUs, a special HBCU innovation fund, large boosts in Pell Grant and Title III funding, and extra tax breaks for those in the private sector who contribute to HBCUs. But, instead of the long-awaited executive order containing or signaling any of those outcomes, the key change is a symbolic shift of the White House HBCU Initiative from the Department of Education to the White House. It is not possible to measure the impact of this gesture anytime soon, if ever, read Wilson's statement.
(Photo: Kate Patterson for The Washington Post via Getty Images)