Education Secretary Betsy DeVos
This week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testified before a Senate subcommittee on President Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposal for the U.S. Department of Education. Sadly, this budget receives an “F” as it slashes critical funding for public education and raises serious questions about the administration’s commitment to protect the civil rights of Latino and other historically underserved students.
At a time when schools, teachers, and low-income kids across the nation need greater support and resources to close achievement gaps, this budget cuts federal education spending by $9.2 billion or 13 percent. This includes a cut of approximately $4 billion from investments in public school programs authorized by Congress through the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
By Amelia Collins, Policy Analyst, NCLR
The president proposed an ambitious student debt plan during the campaign last year. He called student loan debt an “albatross” hanging on the necks of borrowers, proposed a generous and streamlined repayment plan, and stated that the government shouldn’t “profit” off its student loan program. However, instead of using the first 100 days of his presidency to follow through on these promises, President Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have rolled back crucial consumer protections for our nation’s 40 million student loan borrowers.
Let’s set the stage.
Education Secretary Nominee Betsy DeVos. Photo: betsydevos.com
Yesterday NCLR sent a letter to Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray opposing the nomination of Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education.
One in four children in U.S. schools are Latino, and that number will only rise. It is critical that their needs are addressed by the U.S. Department of Education, but for this to occur, the nominee for secretary of education must be committed to upholding civil rights. However, during her hearing, DeVos was only asked one question about civil rights, related to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and expressed unfamiliarity with the law. Due to the limited questioning, it is uncertain that she would protect the civil rights of minority children.