By Hemant Mehta
With the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, one church/state separation group is already talking about how it will oppose her plans to defund our public school system in order to support religious education.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State says it will fight any attempt at a voucher system that would take taxpayer money away from public schools in order to fund religious education:
Americans United vowed to oppose any attempts by DeVos and President Donald Trump’s administration to defund public schools by redirecting taxpayer dollars to private schools that lack accountability and typically perform no better — and sometimes worse — than public schools. AU also is concerned that vouchers will be used at private religious schools that teach religion, such as creationism and anti-LGBTQ curriculum. AU notes that these school don’t provide the same civil rights protections — including those that protect students with disabilities and young women against discrimination — that public schools do.
Voters have shown their lack of confidence in voucher programs by voting them down in ballot referenda across the country, including in DeVos’ home state of Michigan. And the nature of her confirmation — requiring Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote for the first time in our nation’s history for a cabinet appointee — should send a clear signal that she lacks public support.
“We’re disappointed that more senators didn’t listen to their constituents who have protested DeVos’ nomination for weeks,” [Executive Director Rev. Barry W.] Lynn said. “We hope the American people will join us in continuing to loudly voice support for public education and opposition to misguided voucher schemes.”
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