President-elect Donald J. Trump has named Betsy DeVos, chair of the Alliance for School Choice, a group that promotes private school vouchers, to serve as Secretary of Education. Having the Department of Education run by a secretary who has devoted her career to privatizing public education is greatly troubling, says Americans United.
Private school vouchers divert desperately needed resources away from the public school system to fund the education of a few students. In addition, voucher programs have proven ineffective, lack accountability to taxpayers, deprive students of rights provided to public school students and threaten religious liberty.
The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, issued the following statement:
“The appointment of Betsy DeVos to oversee the U.S. Department of Education is an insult to public education. DeVos is a divisive figure who has spent much of her career working to privatize public education. She has fought to divert resources away from public schools into private, mostly religious institutions. She is the leader of the crusade to create school vouchers across the country.
“Ninety percent of American children rely on public schools for an education. The country deserves an Education Secretary who will advocate for those children and their families and represent their interests. Instead, we have an ideologue who favors privatizing education.
“Private school vouchers violate the fundamental principle of religious freedom because they fund religious education with taxpayer dollars. This is indeed a dark day for public education in America.”
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.