Education Secretary Betsy DeVos does not believe America is doing right by its children, and part of her suggestion for fixing that involves cutting $18 million to support Special Olympics while pushing for millions more to be spent on charter schools.
The Detroit Free Press reported on Tuesday that the billionaire and school choice advocate made her recommendations during prepared remarks before a House subcommittee that is considering the Department of Education’s budget request for fiscal year 2020.
"We are not doing our children any favors when we borrow from their future in order to invest in systems and policies that are not yielding better results,” DeVos told the committee.
What does she suggest? The budget proposal would “add $60 million more to charter school funding and create a tax credit for individual and companies that donate to scholarships for private schools,” while cutting more than $7 billion from the department, which constitutes about 10 percent of its budget.
DeVos’ proposal also suggests “eliminating billions in grants to improve student achievement by reducing class sizes and funding professional development for teachers as well as cutting funds dedicated to increasing the use of technology in schools and improving school conditions.”
As for the Special Olympics, DeVos said. "We had to make some difficult decisions with this budget."
The program, which serves children and adults with disabilities, is “well-supported by the philanthropic sector,” she said.
During her testimony — the first time DeVos has appeared before a Democrat-controlled committee — Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) confronted her with a recent report by a nonprofit that found the federal government had wasted as much as $1 billion on charter schools that never opened or closed due to mismanagement, suggesting that DeVos’ cuts in order to support more of the same is unwise.
On the matter of Special Olympics, Pocan asked the secretary: "Do you know how many kids are going to be affected by that cut?"
DeVos responded that she was unaware of the exact number.
“It’s 272,000 kids,” Pocan told her.