Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will testify at a congressional hearing on the Department of Education’s budget – and members of Congress will have questions for her.
This will not be Secretary DeVos’ first time in the witness seat at a congressional hearing. In January, when she was fresh off of a stint as chair of a pro-voucher organization, a Senate committee held her confirmation hearing and senators had many questions for the then-nominee. After all, the Secretary of Education has a responsibility to support great public schools for every student, but vouchers take scarce funding from public schools and give it to private schools.
As she answered senators’ questions, we learned just how big a proponent of private school vouchers DeVos is. She refused to rule out privatizing our nation’s public schools. She didn't think that private schools taking public funds through vouchers need to be accountable like public schools. She even said that private schools taking taxpayer-funded vouchers should not have to provide the same protections for students with disabilities as public schools.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos should once again be asked questions about vouchers during a congressional hearing. (screen capture from C-SPAN)
Today, she will testify about the budget released yesterday by President Donald J. Trump. That plan cuts the overall education budget by more than $10 billion, including funding for our public schools, but allocates $250 million to study and expand private school vouchers.
Taxpayers can’t afford to fund two different education systems – one public and one religious. Public funds should be for public schools. Thus, we hope that members of Congress have questions for DeVos like:
- Why does she support private school vouchers, which weaken public schools?
- Why is she willing to take funds away from public schools, which educate 90 percent of our students, to fund vouchers for private schools?
- Why has she chosen to use her role as head of the Department of Education to promote vouchers for private schools that are unaccountable to the public, pick and choose which students they serve and do not provide students with the same civil rights, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) rights and opportunities for student achievement as students in public schools?
We will be tracking the action on Twitter using #Questions4Betsy. Follow along with us, and don’t forget to take action by urging your Members of Congress to reject any legislation that would authorize private school vouchers.