• Betsy DeVos said the Department of Education, which she used to run, shouldn't exist.
  • She served as Secretary of Education under Trump, and supported reducing the department's authority.
  • DeVos previously said that career staff in the department pushed back on many of her efforts.

Former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said Friday that the department she once steered should be abolished in favor of giving more authority to state and local education boards.

"I personally think the Department of Education should not exist," said DeVos, nonprofit news site Florida Phoenix first reported. DeVos' comment was received with cheers and applause as she spoke at the first national Moms for Liberty summit over the weekend.

Moms for Liberty is a conservative nonprofit founded in Florida that advocates for parents to have more influence over public school decisions. The organization first received national attention when it fought against mask mandates in schools, and later when it opposed curriculum related to LGBTQ rights, race, and discrimination.

This isn't the first time DeVos, who served as education secretary under former President Donald Trump, has spoken against the Department of Education.

"I've said often, I frankly don't think the Department of Education should exist," she said at a June 15 fireside chat organized by American Enterprise Institute, a think tank.

"Did that play well?" asked political scientist Frederick Hess, who moderated the talk.

"Not necessarily with the staff there, but with a lot of folks outside Washington it does," she said.

"You know, because, really for any of the creative reforms that we advanced, we really had to essentially work around most of the career staff," she continued. "Because there were very few who would actually get the work done that needed to be done or would present options that weren't even close to what we were attempting to do."

"There are a lot of really nice and well-meaning people there, I don't mean to disparage them in any way," she added. "But they are definitely oriented around being in their roles for probably most of their careers, if not all of them."

She claimed that many of the staff inside the department "don't have insight" into how other countries around the world deal with education.

During her tenure, DeVos controversially worked to reduce her department's authority over schools, introducing cuts to federal education spending and rolling back federal guidelines in favor of letting states and local districts decide their own policy.

"Government has never made anything better or cheaper, more effective or more efficient. And nowhere is that more true than in education," DeVos said in 2019.

DeVos' office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

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