Betsy DeVos knows that people do not like her. Well, at least peripherally she does.
On June 6, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos went before a Senate Appropriation committee to answer questions about President Trump’s recent proposed budget for education.
Near the end of the hearing, a committee member asked DeVos if she knew that people didn’t like her because of her support for school vouchers. This voucher is government funding given to a student to use at the school of their choosing.
DeVos answered, “I’m peripherally aware of that, yes.”
This was just of the many heated moments of the two and half hour gathering. DeVos was grilled by many senators that wanted answers about the 13% decrease in the education budget.
13% is the equivalent of 9.2 billion dollars. The money would be removed from teacher and vocational trainings and before and after school programs. It should be noted though that the cuts would be happening to programs that are considered and graded as “duplicative, ineffective, or are better supported through state, local or private efforts.” In total 22 programs would be phased out or eliminated, which includes the work study program which would be but in half. The new budget also proposes the removal of subsidized loans and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, but cutting PSLF would save $859 million.
The savings would be used to help facilitate school choice. 1 billion dollars would be funded into a program that allows students to move to the school of their choosing and take their funding with them. Around 400 million dollars would be used to expand charter schools and vouchers for private schools. The proposed budget would also favor a tax program that allows tax breaks to businesses that donate to nonprofit scholarship organizations for private and religious institutions.
It will take a lot of support in order to complete everything that is proposed in the budget. The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee has many members that disapprove of DeVos and her agenda. For one, ranking committee member Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) already “believes that DeVos is anti public schools”. Murray also stated that of the eight letters of inquiry she sent to DeVos’ office, she has received a total of zero responses. She then accused DeVos of only replying to the messages of their Republican constituents.
Despite the opposition, DeVos is optimistic for the future. She wants to work across the aisle to make the budget work. DeVos plans to return the power of choice to students and their parents and will focus her efforts into programs that are proven successful. By eliminating the programs that under perform, one thing is for sure, DeVos plans to “save the tax payer”.
The official portrait of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos