Remember the wonderful and tragic novel and movie “Sophie’s Choice”? The novel by William Styron was made into a film starring Meryl Streep. It was about a Holocaust survivor who tells her story of having to choose which of her children will live and whic will die.
Steven Singer writes about what he calls “Betsy’s Choice.”
Which will she be faithful to: civil rights or school privatization?
“As U.S. Secretary of Education, she is responsible for upholding the civil rights of all U.S. students.
“She is NOT a paid lobbyist for the school privatization industry.
“Yet when asked point blank by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) whether her department would ensure that private schools receiving federal school vouchers don’t discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students, she refused to give a straight answer.
“She said that the these schools would be required to follow all federal antidiscrimination laws but her department would not issue any clarifications or directives about exactly how they should be doing it.
“On areas where the law is unsettled, this department is not going to be issuing decrees. That is a matter for Congress and the courts to settle,” DeVos said at a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education yesterday.
“I think you just said where it’s unsettled, such discrimination will continue to be allowed under your program. If that’s incorrect, please correct it for the record,” Merkley replied.
“DeVos did not correct him.”
No, she will not protect the rights of LGBTQ students to learn free from harassment or discrimination.
It is also unclear whether she will protect the rights of students who attend voucher schools, which may discriminate by race, religion, language, disability status, or any other grounds. Why? Because the pretense of voucher advocates is that voucher funds go to the family or corporation, not to the schools. So a voucher school may exclude children of a different faith because it does not directly receive federal funds. Betsy doesn’t know many things, but she certainly know the legal dodges to get around constitutional barriers to funding religious schools.
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