DeVos gets in heated debate over school discrimination
“So if I understand your testimony – I want to make sure I get this right – there’s no situation of discrimination or exclusion, that if a state approved it for its voucher program, that you would step in and say, “That’s not how we’re going to use our federal dollars”?”
US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has refused to stand up for the rights of vulnerable LGBT+ students during a frustrating exchange at a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing this week.
In her exchange with DeVos, Clark referenced Lighthouse Christian Academy, an IN school that receives hundreds of thousands of dollars IN state voucher funds, despite denying access to students who are from households where there is “homosexual or bisexual activity” or have family members who practice “alternate gender identity”.
DeVos’ answer has made rounds on social media.
“I am shocked that you can not come up with one example of discrimination that you would stand up for students”, Clark responded.
DeVos: “Well, again, the Office of Civil Rights and our Title IX protections are broadly applicable across the board, but when it comes to parents making choices on behalf of their students”. “Will that be a guarantee from you for our students?”
That budget sets aside $1 billion for school districts that promote school choice, increases funding for charter school grants, and invests millions into scholarship programs that allow low-income students to attend private schools, reports the Detroit Free Press. “Or would you say the state has the flexibility in this situation?”
“[DeVos’] inability to draw that bright line, whatever other policy disagreements we may have, continues to shock and frankly appall me”, Clark added.
“It’s not a hypothetical”. “It’s a real school”.
“They will be hurting the children and families who can least afford it”, Ms. DeVos said at an event hosted by the American Federation for Children, the school choice advocacy group she used to lead. We have to do something different. And that is the focus. “States and local communities are best equipped to make these decisions and framework”. “But it is still shocking to me that the Secretary’s gut instinct wasn’t to say, ‘Of course I will not allow any discrimination, whether it’s by race, sexual orientation or the special needs of a child, ‘” Clark said.
During her testimony, DeVos was questioned by congressional Democrats about whether she would intervene to stop a private school receiving voucher money from discriminating against students. “I was hoping she would say there would be protections, and we wouldn’t be using our scarce federal dollars for schools that are not open to all students”. Couldn’t she have lied just a little?
“Maybe I shouldn’t have been [shocked], given what we know about this administration”. All I want from my government officials at this point is the dignity of being convincingly lied to – and they won’t even give me that.