The Secretary of Education was in the hotseat on Wednesday, seeming to convey that LGBT discrimination against students is okay if they want federal funds.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Wednesday that schools should have the right to turn away LGBT students and still recieve federal funding.
In an exchange with Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) about Christian Academy which receives voucher dollars but denies students based on “homosexual or bisexual activity” or someone “practicing alternate gender identity,” DeVos refused to definitively answer whether or not she would step in if that school were to apply for federal funding.
She answered by saying that families should be allowed to decide for themselves.
“For states who have programs that allow for parents to make choices, they set up the rules around that,” she said.
Having not answered her question entirely, Rep. Clark sought further clarification on DeVos’ stance, asking if there would ever be a time when she would step in and refuse a school federal money.
“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….”
Clark interjected, “This isn’t about parents making choices. This is about use of federal dollars.” She added, “You would put the state flexibility over our students?”
“I think a hypothetical―” DeVos began.
“It’s not a hypothetical,” Clark interrupted. “It’s a real school.”
Although time had run out a chairman gave DeVos a few seconds to respond without being interrupted.
“The bottom line is we believe that parents are the best equipped to make choices for their children’s schooling and education decisions,” DeVos said. “States and local communities are best equipped to make these decisions and framework.”
But Clark still got the last word:
“I am shocked that you cannot come up with one example of discrimination that you would stand up for students.”