DeVos hands out millions to charter schools while public schools suffer

October 4, 2017 Vernon G. Smith

INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Vernon G. Smith (D-Gary) said U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is giving Indiana $59 million of tax money to expand charter schools while public school in the state struggle to maintain solvency.

“The Legislative Services Agency, a nonpartisan group serving the Indiana General Assembly, recently issued a report which found that 40 percent of public school corporations in Indiana operate with deficits,” said Dr. Smith. “In the Gary Community School Corporation, the district is confronted with a $1.7 million monthly deficit, significantly impacted because of state policies. Yet, Secretary DeVos is going to hand over $59 million in tax money to expand charter schools in Indiana, while Gary Schools and other public schools throughout the state suffer. DeVos has a warped sense of priorities.

“DeVos needs to understand that the secretary of education represents all of our country, not just particular segments, and that there are far more public schools than charter schools in the United States,” said Dr. Smith. “In Indiana, public schools are performing better than charter schools. This large grant earmarked for expansion of charter schools is a slap in the face of public education, including the students and their teachers. Such an insult is inexcusable by one of the president’s cabinet members, who is the head of the U.S. Department of Education.”

The $59 million federal grant will be issued over five years with the first $24 million coming in the first year.

“Secretary DeVos is married to a member of the billionaire family who founded Amway and she was wealthy before getting married,” explained Dr. Smith. “DeVos doesn’t know what it is like to be poor or a minority. She is more concerned with her ideological, anti-public education efforts than she is for those who need and deserve quality public education.

“DeVos spent a fortune in her home state of Michigan pursing political policies benefiting the use of vouchers for private and religious schools as well as those creating charter schools,” added Dr. Smith. “The Detroit Free Press did an investigation that found that charter school students in Michigan scored lower on achievement tests than students at traditional public schools. Nevertheless, DeVos pushed charter schools despite their poor performance and lack of accountability.

“In addition, DeVos has no formal education degrees or training,” continued Dr. Smith. “DeVos is easily the least qualified person to hold the post of secretary of education during the department’s 40-year existence at the cabinet level. Worst of all, students across America are going to pay the price for DeVos’ inexperience and rigid ideology.”