Congress denied Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ proposal Thursday to spend over $1 billion on school choice and private school voucher initiatives.
The Education Secretary wanted to cut funding for the department by $3.6 billion — approximately five percent — but Congress instead increased its funding by $3.9 billion, The Washington Post reported. DeVos ramped up charter school funding by $58 million to $400 million, but Congress denied her request for $500 million.
Congress flatly rejected DeVos’ request for $1 billion to fund school voucher, magnet school and charter school programs. The Education Secretary wanted to cut after-school and grant programs for low-income students and redirect the money to school vouchers.
“Too many students are stuck in a school that isn’t meeting their needs, through no fault of their own,” Education Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Hill told WaPo. “We must end the system that forces students into schools based on their zip code or family income.”
The bill’s other provisions boost funding for an initiative to reduce school violence by $22 million, increase mental health service funding by $25 million, and bolster a separate grant program for counseling, crisis management, and violence prevention by $700 million.
“After more than a year on the job, I would have hoped Secretary DeVos would have learned by now that her extreme ideas to privatize our nation’s public schools and dismantle the Department of Education do not have support among parents or in Congress,” Washington Democrat Sen. Patty Murray said. “I’m proud to have worked with Republicans in Congress to flatly reject these ideas and increase funding for programs Secretary DeVos tried to cut, including K-12 education, civil rights protections, college affordability and more.”
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