Department Of Education Tweets Spelling Mistake Then Misspells Apology


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

Betsy DeVos pictured during a confirmation hearing at the Senate earlier this year. Melina Mara/The Washington Post/Getty Images

We’ve all done it. Whether in a text, a Facebook status, or an email, we’ve all misspelled something and embarrassed ourselves. We’ve also likely panicked upon realizing our error and decided to quickly send a correcting text – only to realize that text also contains an unfortunate error.

The problem is that when the US Department of Education (ED) does this, it looks pretty bad.


Polymath and interesting name owner William Edward Burghardt Du Bois is revered in much of the US for his pioneering support for civil rights for African-Americans in the early 20th century. One of the founding members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), he is also known for his support of both academia and public education.


The ED Twitter account thought it would be appropriate that this rather legendary man should be highlighted during the US’ Black History Month – to wit, they shared an image of him, along with an inspirational quote about education and life.

There was, of course, just one teeny, tiny problem – they misspelled his name as “DeBois.”


After the denizens of Twitter, including Chelsea Clinton, spotted this mistake, the ED quickly tweeted their apology. Hilariously (or sadly, depending on your perspective on life), their tweet also contained a spelling mistake. Although it’s since been deleted, it was documented by the Washington Post in its entirety.


“Post updated,” it read. “Our deepest apologizes for the earlier typo.”

Oh dear. You had one job, social media manager.


Either way, this isn’t a good look for the already beleaguered ED. Right now, it’s not clear whether the Republican Party wants to neuter the ED or completely eradicate it, and multiple spelling errors don’t exactly inspire confidence in their ability to run things smoothly.

It’s certainly safe to say that it’s not been a smooth start for Betsy DeVos, a longtime donor to the GOP whose most memorable thoughts about America’s education system involve giving all schools guns to prevent “potential grizzly” attacks.


So far, she’s been blocked by protestors from getting into a school for her first public event as the new Secretary of Education. She’s also been tweeting about missing pencils – or someone using her account has been, anyway – and that’s not been going too well either.


This latest incident isn’t the first government misspelling fiasco of the new administration. A few days earlier, the White House released a list of terrorist attacks that were supposedly underreported by the media. As it turns out, this list was peppered with glorious glaring spelling mistakes, including “attaker” and “Denmakr”.

Ah well. Maybe these are just “Alternative Spellings”.



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