Public money should fund public schools, but President Donald J. Trump’s federal budget would send $250 million in public money to vouchers for private, often religious, schools. Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos once again went to the Hill to defend the budget, this time, before a Senate committee.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was expected to finally reveal details of President Donald J. Trump’s long-promised federal school voucher plan last night. Instead, we heard a lot of platitudes, but little in the way of a policy proposal.
Today marks 100 days since Michigan billionaire and school voucher proponent Betsy DeVos took over the reins as President Donald J. Trump’s Secretary of Education. If there’s one thing she’s accomplished in that time, she’s demonstrated her perseverance in pushing for vouchers.
President Donald J. Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos may think private school voucher schemes are an education panacea, but past federal education officials – including those who worked for conservative administrations – are less optimistic.
“If you try something and it’s experimental, and the experiment doesn’t work, why would you want to do it again and again and again?” Diane Ravitch, who served as assistant secretary of education under former President George H.W. Bush, asked during a speech in Texas in late March. “That’s what we’re doing now with . . . vouchers.”
Tomorrow is President Donald J. Trump’s 100th day in office. Although he campaigned on his 100-day “Contract with the American Voter,” he no longer seems enthusiastic about the milestone. Perhaps that’s because he is facing criticism for failing to achieve any major legislative victories. One thing he has accomplished: He has caused real harm to religious freedom and has made promises to do even more.
Nearly 20 years ago, Betsy DeVos and her husband were the primary funders of an effort to strip the Michigan Constitution’s no-aid clause – the provision that ensures the government doesn’t funnel taxpayer dollars to religious institutions, including private religious schools. Their goal: remove the constitutional barrier to implementation of a private school voucher program.