DeVos vs. Democrats: a quick recap

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos squared off Tuesday with congressional Democrats over the Trump administration’s proposed education budget.

Here’s a quick recap:

The basics. The Trump administration budget would cut U.S. Department of Education spending by $7.1 billion, a 10 percent decrease.

“This reduction is similar to last year’s request, and the year before that, as well,” DeVos said in prepared remarks. “I acknowledge that you rejected those recommendations. I also acknowledge that it’s easier to keep spending, to keep saying ‘yes,’ and to keep saddling tomorrow’s generations with today’s growing debt. But, as it’s been said, the government will ‘run out of other people’s money.'”

Education Freedom Scholarships. DeVos used the occasion to tout the administration’s Education Freedom Scholarships proposal, saying the federal tax credits would empower parents to be creative about their children’s education.

Democrats on the House Appropriations subcommittee were skeptical about the $5 billion plan, as Andrew Ujifusa of Education Week reported. Subcommittee chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., called the plan “unregulated, unaccountable, and an effort to fund private school voucher programs.”

A Special Olympics showdown. DeVos came under fire for a plan to cut $17.6 million in Special Olympics education programs.

Melissa Nann Burke of the Detroit News has full coverage of the hearing — and a tense exchange between DeVos and Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis.:

Pocan: “Do you know how many kids are going to be affected by that cut, Madame Secretary?”

DeVos:  “Let me just say again, we had to make some difficult decisions with this budget —”

Pocan: “This is a question on how many kids. It’s 272,000.”

The politics. Tuesday’s hearing was significant, as Ufijusa noted. It was DeVos’ first appearance in the House since the midterm elections, when Democrats took control of the House.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday