By Cory Turner
Over and over again, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos deflected a barrage of pointed questions with one answer:
“Schools that receive federal funds must follow federal law.”
Appearing Tuesday before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, DeVos was asked repeatedly by lawmakers if, under a federal voucher program, she would prohibit private schools from discriminating against LGBTQ students and children with disabilities. Recent reports, including an NPR investigation of Indiana’s voucher program, have documented private schools excluding these students.
When Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington asked if private schools would be required to follow IDEA, the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, DeVos began the pattern:
“Any institution receiving federal funding is required to follow federal law.”
When Murray followed up, she got the same answer, again.
Later, Sen. Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, pointed out that federal anti-discrimination laws are “somewhat foggy” and asked DeVos if private schools that take federal dollars should be allowed to turn away LGBTQ students.
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