Two weeks after Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos implied private schools that discriminated against LGBT or African-American students could still get federal funding, it looks like she’s changed her mind.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Tuesday that all schools that receive federal funds will be required to follow federal civil rights laws.
“Let me be clear, schools that receive federal funds must follow federal law,” DeVos said during the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies hearing on President Trump’s proposed budget for the Education Department.
Maybe the political pressure is really getting to her.
Maybe she realized how misguided her thinking is.
Maybe this isn’t the hill she wants to die on.
Either way, it’s a bit of good news in a sea of incompetence, even if there’s a long way to go before she’s on the right track on educational policy. And make no mistake: She’s still pushing for some awful policies. For example, even if schools have to follow existing anti-discrimination laws to get federal funding, there are limitations to what sort of discrimination “counts.” DeVos refused to say if schools that force transgender kids to use the wrong bathrooms, for example, would still receive that money.
“On areas where the law is unsettled, this department is not going to be issuing decrees,” DeVos said during the Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing.
“That is a matter for Congress and the courts to settle.”
“Is discrimination going to be allowed or not allowed under your understanding?” [Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)] pushed after that response.
“I’m going back to what I said earlier,” DeVos replied.
“Well what you said earlier didn’t help us since this in an area of unsettled law,” Merkley retorted.
It’s almost like she’s never given this any thought…
This isn’t the only issue where she’s out of her depth. We also know DeVos wants taxpayer dollars going to religious schools through vouchers — and that would provide her with the loophole she wants. Religious schools aren’t subject to federal regulations, after all.
As for her change of heart, don’t believe it just yet. Pay attention to what she actually does, not what she says. It’s the only way to cover the constantly imploding administration of Donald Trump.