President-elect Donald Trump's pick of Betsy DeVos for education secretary will wreak havoc on public education, says the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
DeVos is a proponent of privatizing education through vouchers, a policy approach that will have a seriously negative impact on our education system, according to FFRF.
"The decision to appoint DeVos to this post signifies a serious attack on public education," says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. "As the top education official in the United States, she can be expected to do everything in her power to take taxpayer money from public schools and send it to private religious schools."
DeVos, a billionaire and political donor, has worked for more than a decade on political efforts to fund private religious schools with taxpayer money. In 2000, she unsuccessfully funded a campaign to repeal Michigan's constitutional protections that prevent taxpayer money from going to religious entities. She has spent millions of dollars to help elect politicians who support voucher schemes.
Under Trump's administration, federal funding that supplements state education efforts will quite certainly be drained to fund religious schools. Trump has proposed adding $20 billion in the first budget towards "school choice" federal programming.
"This is a significant threat to the separation of state and church," says FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott. "We know from state voucher programs that the overwhelming beneficiary of these programs are not students, but are instead the churches and parochial schools that take in public money."
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national state/church watchdog organization with more than 24,000 nonreligious members all over the country. Click here to view FFRF's FAQ on school vouchers.