Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos refused to defend LGBT students by denying federal funds to private schools that discriminate against admitting students based on sexuality, race or even special needs.
During a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark challenged Devos’ school choice education policy by highlighting an Indiana school that receives more than $600,000 in state voucher funds and explicitly denies access to students with LGBT parents in its literature.
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Rep. Clark told DeVos that Lighthouse Christian Academy’s handbook states it will refuse admission to or expel students when someone in the child’s home is “living in, condoning sexual immorality; practicing homosexual lifestyle or alternate gender identity; promoting such practices.”
Clark told DeVos the school policy is that “if you are from a family where there is homosexual or bisexual activity – their word not mine – or practicing alternate gender identity, you may be denied admissions.”
He asked Devos if she would ensure “this school be open to all students” if it accepts federal funding.
DeVos responded by saying the issue was one that was “broadly” about school choice.
“It’s actually kind of narrow,” Clark interjected.
“Would you say to Indiana,” Clark asked, “that school cannot discriminate against LGBT students if you want to receive federal dollars? Or would you say the state has the flexibility in this situation?”
DeVos responded: “I believe states have flexibility –”
“As I understand your testimony,” Rep. Clark interjected, “there’s no situation of discrimination or exclusion that if a state approved its voucher program that you would step in and say, ‘That’s not how we’re going to use our federal dollars’?”
DeVos responded, “I think a hypothetical in this case –”
Clark again interjected: “It’s not a hypothetical, this is a real school that receives real dollars,” she said, before being told her time had expired.
“We believe,” DeVos replied, “parents are the best-equipped to make choices for their children’s schooling and education decisions. And too many children today are trapped in schools that don’t work for them,” DeVos continued, ignoring that too many LGBT students are trapped in schools that don’t work for them.
“We have to do something different,” DeVos said. “We have to do something different than continuing a top-down, one size fits all approach. And that is the focus, and states and local communities are best-equipped to make these decisions and framework,” DeVos said, citing no evidence whatsoever.
“I am shocked that you cannot come up with one example of discrimination that you would stand up for students,” Clark added before the gavel was banged.CNN