Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are “real pioneers when it comes to school choice,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosOn The Money: Economy adds 266K jobs in strong November | Lawmakers sprint to avoid shutdown | Appropriators to hold crucial talks this weekend | Trump asks Supreme Court to halt Deutsche Bank subpoenas GOP set for all-out battle over Michigan Senate seat 'Can I get a ride?' Removing an obstacle for families using school choice MORE said Monday.

“They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and great quality,” DeVos said in a statement. “Their success has shown that more options help students flourish.”

ADVERTISEMENT

DeVos’s comments come as representatives from the country’s HBCUs are in Washington to meet with Republican lawmakers. President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE is expected to sign an executive order related to the institutions on Tuesday.

Her remarks immediately stirred backlash from supporters of HBCUs, who pointed out that the institutions were established because African-American students, often, did not have any other choice.

On Twitter, some users argued that DeVos’s statements could be equated to saying that segregated water fountains simply gave people more beverage choices, or that civil rights icon Rosa Parks was standing up for seat choice.

Brendan Nyhan, a professor of political science at Dartmouth University, pointed out on Twitter that DeVos’s statement appeared to contradict information readily available on her department’s website.