When she was questioned by Congress, Betsy DeVos let the cat out of the bag about vouchers.
The U.S. Department of Education will hand out money for vouchers and will not enforce civil rights laws.
“She lifted the curtain on school vouchers and made clear exactly what this system of using taxpayer funds to pay for private and religious schools is.
“It’s a way for some parents, particularly bigots, to get taxpayers to subsidize their attempts to evade or break the law.
“The revelation came during DeVos’s testimony before Congress about President Donald Trump’s proposed new federal budget and that budget’s effect on education.
“DeVos found herself questioned by U.S. Rep. Katharine Clark, D-Massachusetts. Clark inquired about Lighthouse Christian Academy, a voucher school here in Indiana — Bloomington, in fact — that boasts that it will deny admission to students who might be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The school also will deny admission to students who come from homes in which homosexuality or bisexuality is practiced.
“(An aside: Don’t schools and people like this — who go out of their way to demean vulnerable children — really make you proud to be a Hoosier?)
“Clark asked if DeVos would prevent federal funds from going to schools that violate federal law by discriminating against people based on sexual orientation. DeVos tried to duck the question, but, after considerable hemming, hawing and throat-clearing, finally said this was really a parent’s decision, not hers.
“Clark corrected her.
“This really isn’t about parents’ choices, the congresswoman said. It was about whether federal tax money would be used to subsidize policies that violate federal — and, in some cases, basic constitutional — law.
DeVos stood by her answer.
“Clark then asked her if there was any form of discrimination against which DeVos would take a stand. Would the education secretary, for instance, funnel federal tax dollars to a voucher school that discriminated against African-American students?
“DeVos again tried to evade the question.
“DeVos finally uttered a series of non-sequiturs about parents caring about their children and states honoring that as her final answer.
“But she refused to answer the question.
“She couldn’t name a single instance in which she would oppose allowing voucher schools to discriminate against law-abiding American citizens.
It’s tempting to write this off as another instance of Betsy DeVos being Betsy DeVos, a billionaire lightweight dilettante trying to pass herself off as a heavyweight expert on education, law and public policy. She certainly isn’t the first person to think wealth is a substitute for study or knowledge.
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