DeVos makes final pitch for school choice in letter to Congress

Bonnie Cash

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made a case for expanding federal tax dollars to students attending private schools while also urging lawmakers to resist calls to cancel student debt in her final letter to Congress on Monday.

In the letter obtained by The Hill, DeVos reportedly argued that federal grants for K-12 education should be handled in a manner similar to federal college aid provided directly to students.

“Given this precedent of choice and empowerment, it is impossible to understand how it is acceptable for federal taxpayer dollars to support a student attending the University of Notre Dame, but not for a student who wants to attend Notre Dame Prep High School,” reads the letter.

“Let me encourage you to fund education — that is, learning – not a Department of Education. Let me urge you to fund students, not school buildings,” she continued.

DeVos, who is set to depart from her role in coming weeks, also reportedly took aim at a major ask by activists to the incoming Biden administration to cancel student loan debt, which now totals more than $1.6 trillion nationwide, according to the Federal Reserve.

“I hope you also reject misguided calls to make college ‘free’ and require the two-thirds of Americans who didn’t take on student debt or who responsibly paid off their student loans to pay for the loans of those who have not done the same,” the secretary wrote.

The Biden campaign and in particular incoming first lady Jill Biden, who is a practicing professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College, hammered DeVos for months during the 2020 election season and vowed to overturn a rule put in place by the departing secretary strengthening protections for those accused of rape or sexual assault on college campuses.

In September, Jill Biden told CNN that she didn’t believe the Education secretary ever “felt invested in America’s public schools” while accusing her of not having a plan to reopen schools safely in the fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“She didn’t have a strategy, [President] Trump didn’t have a strategy,” Biden said at the time.


Tags Betsy DeVos Jill Biden Joe Biden School choice Student loan

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