Dept. of Education apologizes for misspelling W.E.B. Du Bois

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor

The U.S. Department of Education apologized Sunday for a tweet that misspelled the name of W.E.B. Du Bois while quoting the late writer, historian and civil rights activist.

The tweet spelled his last name “DeBois” — a typo that appeared to mimic the name of the department’s controversial new secretary, Betsy DeVos.


The NAACP, which Du Bois co-founded, was quick to mock the typo.

“‘In the Days of Loose & Careless Logic, We Must Teach Thinkers to THINK.’ – William Edward Burghardt DU Bois,” the NAACP tweeted.

The Du Bois error was left unaddressed for nearly four hours before the department posted a corrected version of the tweet and issued an apology — which also included a typo.

“Our deepest apologizes for the earlier typo,” the initial apology tweet read before a second one was issued.


DeVos was confirmed by the Senate last week, with Vice President Mike Pence casting a historic tie-breaking vote. The Michigan billionaire’s razor-thin confirmation followed bruising confirmation hearings, where critics highlighted her support for vouchers to attend private schools and the fact that she has neither worked in nor attended a public school nor sent her children to public schools.

Betsy DeVos and the misspelled tweet. (DeVos: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters; illustration by Yahoo News)

On Wednesday, a photo of DeVos walking into her new office was posted to her personal Twitter feed.


“Day 1 on the job is done, but we’re only getting started,” she wrote. “Now where do I find the pencils?”

“At the store,” Robin McCauley Lynch, a Los Angeles teacher, replied. “Something you should know: we teachers buy pencils and supplies for our classes with our OWN money.”


And for DeVos, it seems, erasers may come in handy.

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