Testifying Wednesday before a House
Appropriations subcommittee, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos refused
to say whether she would pull federal funding from a state that
allows schools to discriminate against LGBT students.
Massachusetts Representative Katherine
Clark, a Democrat, repeatedly asked DeVos where she would draw the
“You talk a lot about the flexibility
of states as being preeminent,” Clark stated. “So, I want to go
back to Indiana, to Bloomington in particular, and look at the Light
House Christian Academy. The Light House Christian Academy currently
receives over $665,000 in state vouchers for students to attend their
Clark noted that the school denies
admission to students from LGBT households.
“If Indiana applies for this federal
funding, will you stand up that this school be open to all students?”
Clark asked. “Is there a line for you on state flexibility? …
Would you in this case say, 'We are going to overrule. You cannot
discriminate whether it be on sexual orientation, race, special needs
in our voucher programs.' Will that be a guarantee for our
“For states who have programs that
allow for parents to make choices, they set up the rules around
DeVos, a vocal proponent of voucher programs.
“The bottom line is we believe that
parents are best equipped to make choices for their children's
schooling and education decisions. States and local communities are
best equipped to make these decisions and framework,” she added.
Clark said that she was “shocked”
that DeVos could not “come up with one example of discrimination
that you would stand up for students.”
Critics of voucher programs say they
deplete public schools of valuable resources and mostly benefit
pick for secretary of education is Betsy DeVos, a gay marriage foe.)