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Education Department Tweets Two Big Spelling Errors Over Weekend

The Department of Education (ED) sent out an official tweet Sunday quoting influential scholar and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois and misspelling his name. Then the ED sent out an apology and correction that misspelled the word “apologies.”

At 8:45 a.m. Sunday, the ED tweeted, “Education must not simply teach work — it must teach life.” –W.E.B. DeBois, according to Politico.


More than three hours later, the post on Twitter was rewritten, correcting the spelling of Du Bois’ name, followed by a tweet saying, “Post updated — our deepest apologizes for the earlier typo.”

The misspelled tweets came at an inopportune time — during Black History Month and also during the first week in office for Education Secretary Betsy DuVos, who was confirmed Tuesday during the closest vote in Senate history. DuVos gained approval by a 51-50 margin, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote in the evenly split Senate.

DeVos was a controversial pick by President Donald Trump, prompting protests and criticism by teachers unions, Democrats, civil rights groups and parents. In fact, two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, voted with the Democrats against her confirmation.

Du Bois (1868-1963) was an important scholar, author and civil rights activist. He wrote “The Souls of Black Folk,” an influential collection of 14 essays about African Americans after the Civil War. He was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University, and was a co-founder of the NAACP.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].