The questions came after DeVos declined in May to tell lawmakers whether federal funding for state-run voucher programs would be pulled from private schools that discriminate in admissions. DeVos said she could not answer, only that states' plans would be accepted as long as they follow the Every Student Succeeds Act. When asked by Sen.
Senate Democrats at the hearing were quick to criticize DeVos for her department's proposed expansion of school choice, which she said in a recent speech at an American Federation for Children summit would be the "most ambitious" expansion of choice programs in the country's history.
"On areas where the law is unsettled this department is not going to be issuing decrees", she admitted.
Merkley, however, wasn't satisfied.
Testifying in front of Congress on President Donald Trump's new budget for education, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said Tuesday that she will not follow the footsteps of Obama's "Race to the Top" grant program.
DeVos insisted: "Sir, that's now what I said". Students like him are why I am so passionate about reforming education. The Secretary repeatedly gave a non-answer about whether federal dollars would be used to fund schools that discriminate against LGBTQ students - though she did say something useless about being personally against discrimination.
DeVos' responses also received some praise in Tuesday's Senate hearing.
Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the subcommittee's ranking Democrat, picked up on a line of questioning from a House hearing last month on whether DeVos would ensure students in a proposed $250 million voucher program would not be discriminated against by private schools they chose to attend. "These teachers are part of a union that rallied against the secretary for using my experience as an example for what is wrong with the current educational system".
After DeVos again repeated her earlier answer Merkley made this statement: 'You are refusing to answer the question. As a result, the federal government does not have an explicit protection for the treatment of transgender students in schools. DeVos answered that "it doesn't sound like it's a necessary thing" and that it is something that she "will certainly look into".
The administration wants to cut teacher training, vocational training and before- and after-school programs, among others. Many Republicans on the panel applauded the budget's proposal to boost such "school choice" programs. I quoted him last month and I will quote him again, because his words are worth repeating: he said his assigned high school was "nothing more than adult day care. a unsafe daycare".
Going a bit further, the AGs note that since the Department of Education has already determined that these students are eligible for loan forgiveness, DeVos should abandon the application process and automatically discharge all eligible loans. A 2015 report from the Human Rights Campaign said the department doesn't have much discretion in the granting of those exemptions but argued that public knowledge of the requests is important to protect LGBT students.
NEW YORK-Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman joined a coalition of states demanding that the U.S. Department of Education stop delaying its program to cancel federal student loans for thousands of students in NY victimized by predatory for-profit colleges.