Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave America’s educators a big compliment during a chat Wednesday with conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation: She said “teachers’ unions are the only thing standing in the way” of school vouchers, tuition tax credits and other schemes that siphon money from public schools and take opportunities away from students.
DeVos made it clear during her “National School Choice Week” appearance that she stands proudly with the privatizers and corporate interests who want to take public education dollars and hand them to private schools that have no public accountability or transparency, under the guise of “school choice.” And in the wake of UTLA’s historic victory for public schools in America’s second largest school district, DeVos left little uncertainty that school vouchers would be a reality if it weren’t for pesky teachers nationwide.
But even some Republican elected officials in Congress are tepid to DeVos’ new school voucher proposal. In a rare act of bipartisanship, Republican and Democratic lawmakers teamed up to kill two DeVos-proposed voucher programs, which means that Congressional representatives are also standing in the way of “school choice.” Results from a study last year of Washington, D.C.’s voucher program showing that students who receive vouchers don’t perform as well in math as their peers have also tossed a wet blanket on DeVos’ plans.
“Public funds should fund public schools, which serve the majority of our students,” said the National Coalition for Public Education, in a statement responding to DeVos’ comments. “Public funds should not be funneled to private, mostly religious schools – especially when they’re harming children’s education.”