February 13, 2017
Internet trolls on Sunday blamed new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for a typo on the department’s Twitter feed that misspelled the name of a prominent black sociologist, but a spokesman said the mistake was made by a longtime employee.
The tweet included a quotation attributed to W.E.B. Du Bois that incorrectly spelled the sociologist’s last name with an “e.”
The mistake immediately drew hundreds of responses mocking the department’s misspelling.
DeVos, a wealthy political donor, was confirmed last week as President Trump’s pick for Education secretary.
But she faced a difficult Senate confirmation process in large part because of her support for voucher programs and other alternatives to public education and because she purportedly never taught in a public school.
On Friday, DeVos’ third full day on the job, she was temporarily blocked by protesters from entering a District of Columbia public school, being pushed by a protester at one point.
By midday Sunday, the U.S. Education Department had posted a new tweet with the correct spelling and an apology. However, the post drew another round of critics because it included another typo, which was later fixed.
One commenter tweeted: “I love that your initial apology for a typo included a typo. We don’t need any further proof that DeVos runs this account.”
Another post urged further rebuke by urging people to “make this go viral.”
Still, the department under DeVos leadership received some support amid the dozens of negative comments.
“As a public school teacher, it’s important to embrace failures and learn from them. Slow down, it isn’t a race. Proofreading helps,” one person wrote.
A spokesman for the Education Department said Sunday the misspellings had been made by a longtime department employee. He said a new review process was being put in place with additional staff to prevent future tweet errors.