Bipartisan Senate Concern about Devos’ Education Budget Cut Proposal


U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos raised bipartisan concern on Capitol Hill earlier this month during her defense of the proposed budget cuts to the U.S. Department of Education.  In a fact sheet released by the U.S. Department of Education, “the budget eliminates or reduces more than 30 programs and decreases the funding of the U.S. DOE by $9 billion.”  At the subcommittee hearing, Sen. Roy Blunt (R) told DeVos, “I think it’s likely that the kinds of cuts that are proposed in this budget will not occur, so we need to fully understand your priorities and why they are your priorities.”

DeVos’s main priority is choice even if students could possibly be discriminated against based on race, religion, and/or sexual orientation.  The fact sheet also highlights, “$1.4 billion toward new public and private school choice opportunities.”  Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) asked DeVos, “Are you saying that if you have private schools — private schools generally set their own admissions policy — that they will not be allowed to discriminate against LGBT students?”  DeVos replied, “Schools that receive federal funds must follow federal law.”  Merkley’s rephrasing of his question garnered the same reply from DeVos.  She refused to state that funding would be withheld if a private school refused admission or discriminated against students based on race, religion, and/or sexual orientation.  Choice with the possibility of discrimination is not a good choice for families and leaves them with limited or no other options.

In “America First:  A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” President Trump stated, “Many other Government agencies and departments will also experience cuts.  These cuts are sensible and rational.  Every agency and department will be driven to achieve greater efficiency and to eliminate wasteful spending in carrying out their honorable service to the American people.”  Apparently, teacher training and after-school programs is wasteful spending because both are on the chopping block.

For now, it seems DeVos will have an uphill battle getting her plan through in its current state.  If people on both side of the aisle can see the problems, why can’t DeVos?


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