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Betsy DeVos calls for the Department of Education to be abolished

FOX News logo FOX News 7/18/2022 Joshua Nelson
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Former education Secretary Betsy DeVos said the former department she led should be abolished.

Speaking at a "Moms For Liberty" summit in Tampa, Florida, DeVos said on Saturday that the Department of Education that she once led should be abolished in order to leave education decisions to state and local boards.

"I personally think the Department of Education should not exist,"DeVos said during her a keynote speech at the summit. 

The Moms For Liberty group is a parental-rights group that advocates for parental rights at all levels of government, according to their website. The group was founded in Florida, by parents who opposed mask mandates for children in school due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos listens during a cabinet meeting in the East Room of the White House on May 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images © Provided by FOX News Former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos listens during a cabinet meeting in the East Room of the White House on May 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The co-founder of Moms For LIberty Tiffany Justice who interviewed DeVos during the summit are vocal opponents of government-backed mask mandates and teachers unions. She recently blasted teachers unions for their "radical agenda" and not fully representing parents and students.

The summit was a three-day event to equip members from 30 states on how to elect more conservative candidates to school boards. The event featured DeVos as one of the prominent Republicans to speak along with Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

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People gather in support of continuing the school mask mandate outside the Loudon County Government Center prior to a Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday January 18, 2022 in Leesburg, VA. Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images © Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images People gather in support of continuing the school mask mandate outside the Loudon County Government Center prior to a Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday January 18, 2022 in Leesburg, VA. Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Throughout her time in the Trump administration, DeVos was a frequent target of teacher unions and Democrats because of her advocacy for school choice and vouchers. The former education secretary recently called the Biden administration's new parents council a "laughable" attempt to fix "a very glaring issue" in a recent interview with Fox News Digital.

"Parents across the country are upset for a variety of reasons with how the system has handled the last two years. And they remain upset and they… want to have control of their children's education," she said. 

The Department of Education announced the National Parents and Families Engagement Council earlier this month as a means of finding "constructive ways to help families engage at the local level." The committee, the department said, will conduct "listening sessions" to explore what schools can do to help students recover from the pandemic. The formation of the council followed a wave of criticism aimed at the Biden administration and Democrats for downplaying parents' roles in their children's education. 

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Parents all over the country have been speaking out against coronavirus related mandates in schools and progressive curriculums that have been associated with critical race theory or gender theory. 

The Biden administration specifically drew the ire of parents when the National School Board Association (NSBA) sent a letter to the Justice Department that requested parents' actions at school board meetings be examined under the Patriot Act as "domestic terrorists." Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a task group to investigate threats of violence against school boards after the NSBA letter. Critics called the move an attack on parents. 

Fox News' Cortney O'Brien contributed to this report.

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