Trump, DeVos, Rubio Head to Orlando Catholic School to Push Vouchers for Private Religious and For-Profit Education

  • School's Motto: 'Our Goals Are Simple: College and Heaven'

  • Trump Says 'Families Should Be Free to Choose the Public, Private, Charter, Magnet, Religious or Home School That Is Right for Them'

President Donald Trump, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and Senator Marco Rubio are on their way to an Orlando private Catholic School where the president will deliver a speech Friday afternoon advocating for what some call "school choice." DeVos has spent years pushing to take tax dollars away from schools and hand them over to parents to spend at religious and mostly-private for-profit charter schools. 

During his Tuesday night address to Congress, President Trump called education the "civil rights issue of our time." In reality, Trump fought hard to install DeVos despite her having zero qualifications to run a $68 billion dollar federal agency responsible for ensuring the next generation of America's children and college students are properly educated. 

Trump, DeVos, and Rubio will speak to parents, students, and educators at Saint Andrew Catholic School, a K-8 school whose motto is, "Our goals are simple: College and Heaven."

Contrary to what many believe, increasingly states like Florida are making it easy for parents to use vouchers to help pay the costs of private religious education, a clear conflict with the First Amendment tenet of separation of church and state. Trump and DeVos support the use of vouchers for religious instruction. During his speech to Congress Trump said, "families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them."

The L.A. Times reports that "according to a recent study, the students who used the state's tax-credit scholarship to pay for St. Andrew performed slightly worse on reading and math scores in the 2014-2015 school year than they did two years later." 

St. Andrews, like many private religious schools, accepts a large number of students on school vouchers. The Washington Post reports "nearly 300" of the school's 350 students "attend with help from the Florida Tax Credit Scholarships program." Because they are religious institutions, even though they receive state funding they are usually exempt from nondiscrimination ordinances and are free to discriminate against LGBT children and staff. 

A Florida ABC affiliate TV station reports school administrators "said the White House instructed them not to speak to the media" about the president's video.

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