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NEA condemns DeVos’ latest scheme to use scarce public dollars for vouchers

Education Secretary is exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to push a privatization agenda that would hurt the nation’s most vulnerable students


WASHINGTON - March 30, 2020 -

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos joined a White House coronavirus press conference Friday to announce a proposal for microgrants that sounds eerily similar to private school vouchers.

The following is a statement that can be attributed to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:

“It is shameful that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos would use a pandemic like the coronavirus to, once again, push her failed privatization agenda to defund public schools. Students, parents and educators are grappling with a global crisis. They do not need the ridiculous over-reach of the Education Secretary to do now what she has been unable to do for three and a half years: Convince Congress and the country to implement vouchers that will do nothing but siphon scarce public funding for private schools.

“Simply put, Betsy DeVos is tone deaf. American families are struggling to pay their bills as unemployment claims skyrocket. And while public school teachers and other educators are doing their best to meet the needs of students and showing why they are daily heroes, DeVos is raising the specter of her failed agenda.

“If DeVos is concerned about students in need, then why was she MIA as Congress debated efforts in the latest stimulus bill to close the ‘homework gap?’ Where is her plan to push for the tens of billions of dollars that educators, governors, superintendents, and stakeholders know is needed to close budget gaps that will quickly emerge? DeVos shamefully would steal away these scarce funds to pay for her vouchers, further hurting our most vulnerable students. Her political agenda is irresponsible and hurtful to students. She has absolutely no authority to enact this on her own, and Congress should again reject any such proposal she brings forward.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at www.nea.org.

CONTACT:
Staci Maiers, NEA Communications
2020 202-270-5333 cell, smaiers@nea.org