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DeVos Won't Say If She Would Withhold Federal Funding From Schools That Discriminate

betsy devos

Rep. Barbara Lee called DeVos's statements "appalling and sad."

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos won't say whether she would allow federal funding to go to schools that discriminate against LGBT people, reports The New York Times.

In testimony to Congress Wednesday, DeVos defended the Trump administration's $1.4 billion plan to expand so-called school choice, including $250 million in publicly funded scholarships to let students attend private schools. She said decisions on which schools to include in the program would be up to states. Rep. Katherine Clark asked DeVos if she could think of a point where she would intervene as Education secretary to withhold funds from schools that discriminate against LGBT people. Clark used Indiana's Lighthouse Christian Academy as an example. The school reserves the right to reject students whose parents are gay, bisexual, or "practicing alternate gender identity," reports Mother Jones.

"We have to do something different than continuing a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach," DeVos responded. "States and local communities are best equipped to make decisions and framework on behalf of their students."

Rep. Barbara Lee called out DeVos for not giving a clear answer. "To take the federal government's responsibility out of that is just appalling and sad," said the California representative.

GLAAD criticized DeVos for not standing up for the rights of LGBT people. "By turning a blind eye to LGBTQ students who experience discrimination in school, Secretary DeVos has once again proven why she was the wrong choice to lead our nation's education system," said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD president and CEO.

"DeVos once claimed she was an LGBTQ ally, but has now supported back to back policies that would erase LGBTQ students from classrooms. If she wants to be known as more than an anti-LGBTQ activist the time is now to reverse course."

Watch DeVos deliver her statements below.

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Yezmin Villarreal

Yezmin Villarreal is the former news editor for The Advocate. Her work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Mic, LA Weekly, Out Magazine and The Fader.
Yezmin Villarreal is the former news editor for The Advocate. Her work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Mic, LA Weekly, Out Magazine and The Fader.