Betsy DeVos: If parents want to discriminate against LGBT kids, they can have federal money to do it

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Confirmed: Betsy DeVos would send federal money to schools that explicitly discriminate against LGBT students … or any other group, as long as an individual state embraced that form of discrimination. In a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Rep. Katherine Clark highlighted the example of Lighthouse Christian Academy, which receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in vouchers from the state of Indiana despite refusing to enroll students from families where there is “homosexual or bisexual activity” or who are “practicing alternate gender identity.” Clark’s question: Would DeVos block federal dollars from going to schools that discriminate? And DeVos repeatedly refused to say that she would, making very clear that she places “choice” above equality or non-discrimination.

According to DeVos, “For states who have programs that allow for parents to make choices, they set up the rules around that.” In other words, as far as Betsy DeVos is concerned, states can use federal dollars to support schools that discriminate. Because to her, privatization is more important than non-discrimination.

Clark, who appeared baffled, pressed DeVos on whether she could see any situation in which she would overrule a school requesting federal voucher money ― if the school discriminated against students based on sexual orientation, race or special needs, for example.

“The Office of Civil Rights and our Title IX protections are broadly applicable across the board,” DeVos said. “But when it comes to parents making choices on behalf of their students….”

“This isn’t about parents making choices. This is about use of federal dollars,” Clark interrupted. “You would put the state’s flexibility over our students.”

“I think a hypothetical―” DeVos said.

“It’s not a hypothetical,” Clark snapped. “It’s a real school.”

“The bottom line,” DeVos concluded, “is we believe that parents are the best equipped to make choices for their children’s schooling and education decisions.” And she’s willing to send federal money to equip parents to make the choice to keep their kids away from LGBT kids or special needs kids or kids of other races. She’s not just saying that bigoted parents can use their own resources to live their bigoted ideals—she’s willing to actually give them money to do it with.

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