DeVos pushes for school vouchers for military families despite opposition: report

DeVos pushes for school vouchers for military families despite opposition: report
© Greg Nash

Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosConsumer bureau head says Education Department blocking oversight of student loans Dem lawmaker: Betsy DeVos is 'a nice person, but boy she really is confused' Trump touts budget updates to fund Special Olympics, send astronauts to Mars MORE is pushing for military families to be offered private school vouchers, even as major groups within the military community oppose the proposal.

U.S. News & World Report reported Wednesday that DeVos will meet with Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisPentagon reporters left in dark as Iran tensions escalate Trump officials slow-walk president's order to cut off Central American aid: report Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Trump nominates Shanahan as Pentagon chief | House panel advances bill to block military funds for border wall | Trump defends Bolton despite differences MORE on Thursday to ask him to back a plan that would create education savings accounts for military families.

The accounts would cover costs for education expenses, including private school tuition.

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The plan would be funded by taking federal dollars from the $1.3 billion Impact Aid program, which funds education programs and schools on federal land exempt from local taxes, including military bases, according to the report.

A spokeswoman for DeVos told U.S. News that the secretary "continues to meet with members of the Administration and Congress who want to find new and innovative ways to ensure all children in America, particularly our nation's military-connected students, have access to the world-class education they deserve."

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) is pushing a similar bill in Congress.

However, some military groups have come out against the proposal, noting that it would take funding away from the same education groups it would be designed to support.

"Using Impact Aid dollars to fund Education Savings Accounts for military-connected students would be financially devastating for many school districts, critically compromising the quality of the education they could provide to military children and their civilian classmates," The Military Coalition wrote in a letter to Congress earlier this month.

More than 60 education and civil rights groups have also come out against the plan, claiming the savings accounts are simply private school vouchers, according to U.S. News.

The proposal does have some support among conservative groups — Heritage Action sent a letter to lawmakers recently in favor of the plan that was signed by more than 2,000 military families.

DeVos has been a major proponent of school choice programs such as vouchers.

Updated April 19 at 11:15 a.m.