There have been a couple of disturbing developments in the world of education in recent days; both involve Indiana’s school choice voucher system, one on the state level, and one on the national level. Today, I’ll start with the issue that seems most troublesome — the one involving Indiana that was exposed on the national level. Next week, I’ll focus on the state level issue.
Recently, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was called to testify before Congress about the proposed 2018 national budget, which, if passed, would cut education spending by 13.5 percent. Under intense questioning by Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, DeVos was asked repeatedly to address a situation involving a private school in Bloomington, Indiana.
The school, Lighthouse Christian Academy, receives government money through the school choice voucher system. The school has become a focal point in the national controversy over providing tax-supported vouchers for private religious schools due to its admissions policy that would exclude lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender students or even those who come from LGBT families.
DeVos was asked multiple times if she supported tax money being given to private schools that have discriminatory admissions policies, such as those at Lighthouse Christian School. Each time, DeVos refused to denounce such policies, deflecting her response toward the responsibilities of the individual states, saying, “For states who have programs that allow parents to make choices, they set up the rules.”
Clark gave Secretary DeVos several chances to clarify or change her response, but DeVos would not back away from her answer. She made it quite clear that the current administration would support any state, including Indiana, that wished to allow tax dollars to go to private schools that would turn away students based…