Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Thursday morning visited a Pennsylvania school whose policies ban both transgender students and teachers in her annual “back to school” tour promoting taxpayer-funded private education, which she calls “education freedom.”
DeVos once again chose to visit a religious school, the Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School, after which she held a roundtable (video below). For decades DeVos has devoted her professional life to finding ways to make taxpayers pay for private education. Since becoming Education Secretary DeVos has heightened her focus, politicizing her agency to promote private and charter schools over public schools, and working to further marginalize minority students, especially LGBTQ, Black, and disabled children.
As The Huffington Post and CNN report, Harrisburg Elementary School bans transgender students and teachers who have or have begun transitioning. The diocese which oversees the school has a school policy that says to “attempt to make accommodations for such persons would be to cooperate in the immoral action and impose an unacceptable burden on others in the school community.”
That same policy warns parents that by enrolling their children in the school “they agree that they will not publically [sic] act in opposition to Catholic teaching.”
DeVos politicized her visit in a press release, attacking Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Tom Wolf for vetoing a bill that would have doubled the $210 million in taxpayer funds used to subsidize a program granting tax credits to help funnel money into private and charter schools, and effectively out of the public schools system statewide.
Here’s DeVos today at her roundtable pushing her program to increase taxpayer-funded private, religious, and charter schools, while blasting Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor:
U.S. Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos talks about the value of the Educational Improvement Tac Credit. She came to Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School this morning. @BetsyDeVosED @HBGDiocese pic.twitter.com/wvr8Vse1h2
— PAcatholic (@PAcatholic) September 19, 2019
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DeVos Funneling Millions in Coronavirus Funds Meant for Low-Income Students to Wealthy Religious and Private Schools
Private College With Website Debunking It Is a Cult Gets Nearly Half a Million Dollars
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has re-directed at least $180 million in coronavirus relief funds designated by Congress for low-income students and families to wealthy religious and private schools.
The New York Times reports the billionaire “school choice” advocate “has nearly depleted the funding set aside for struggling colleges to bolster small colleges — many of them private, religious or on the margins of higher education — regardless of need.”
In a stunning example, the Times reports “Wright Graduate University for the Realization of Human Potential, a private college that has a website debunking claims that it is a cult, received about $495,000.”
The Times adds that “DeVos has used $180 million to encourage states to create ‘microgrants’ that parents of elementary and secondary school students can use to pay for educational services, including private school tuition. She has directed school districts to share millions of dollars designated for low-income students with wealthy private schools.”
Ben Miller, a Center for American Progress vice president, says DeVos has given almost every private religious school across the country part of a nearly $350 million fund Congress appropriated to help colleges most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Almost 90% of the country’s special faith focused schools got extra money” from the fund, says Miller, who served as senior policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Education.
A 2001 interview exposed DeVos’s religious obsession.
“Our desire is to confront the culture in ways that will continue to advance God’s kingdom,” she said, according to Mother Jones.
Marco Rubio Righteously Scorned for Twisting His Bible Tweets Into an Attack on Democrats and a Defense of Trump
“Nobody is asking you to light yourself on fire and commit suicide. We are asking you to uphold the laws you swore an oath to adhere to and protect.”
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) regularly tweets out Bible verses that surreptitiously support his views of the day. It is a curious take on separation of church and state. But the Roman Catholic lawmaker who also worships at a Southern Baptist church gave up all pretense on Thursday and used his religion to blast Democrats directly while trying to shield President Donald Trump.
In early September, for example, as Hurricane Dorian threatened lives in Florida, Sen. Rubio offered this verse:
God is our refuge and our strength,an ever-present help in distress. Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken and mountains quake to the depths of the sea,Though its waters rage and foam
and mountains totter at its surging.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 3, 2019
And just yesterday, Rubio posted this heavy take:
Had not the LORD been with us when people rose against us,then they would have swallowed us alive,for their fury blazed against us.
Then the waters would have engulfed us,the torrent overwhelmed us;then seething water would have drowned us.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 23, 2019
But the two-term Florida Republican cut to the chase quickly Thursday, scolding Democrats for attacking Trump while saying no one except Jesus “deserves blind loyalty.”
Two things are true
There’s only been ONE man EVER who was always right & deserves blind loyalty & his name was Jesus;
No matter what a Republican does the left will never be fair to them. What they want is Republicans who will douse themselves in kerosene & light a match.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 24, 2019
He was righteously scorned:
most of the public: “please investigate the president’s crimes”
marco rubio: “WHY do you want US to SACRIFICE ourselves like the RISEN LORD” https://t.co/CSZLm9V2Co
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) October 24, 2019
It’s peculiar that you would invoke both Jesus and politics.
— Jeffrey Guterman (@JeffreyGuterman) October 24, 2019
a) The political movement to which I belong has become an idolatrous cult
b) The real problem is liberals are mean to us https://t.co/FhAmW0jc7Q
— Matthew EEEEK!-lesias (@mattyglesias) October 24, 2019
Hiding behind religion to excuse the mobster wannabe in the White House. The Republican party of the 21st century.
— susanelizabeth (@Imfrommichigan) October 24, 2019
Stop using our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who was executed because of his willingness to stand up to state violence and for poor people, to justify your own cowardly weakness. https://t.co/DPuVugPeLD
— Catholic Democrats (@CatholicDems) October 24, 2019
Quit being so dramatic. Nobody is asking you to light yourself on fire and commit suicide. We are asking you to uphold the laws you swore an oath to adhere to and protect. That’s it. If you can’t do that, move on. https://t.co/cHbced834p
— Jennifer Hayden (@Scout_Finch) October 24, 2019
Maybe you should try acting more like Jesus. This tweet of yours is another reprehensible lie and meant to incite people. #Disgusting
— LTS📢 (@LisaToddSutton) October 24, 2019
In the long arc of history, @marcorubio will see that the way that Republicans doused themselves in kerosene and lit the match was not at the hands of the left but by their fealty to Trump.
I am working hard for that day and I hope you are too. https://t.co/aprMhLhXfq
— Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) October 24, 2019
You are so pathetic… and y’all doused yourselves in kerosene and lit a match long ago – when you fell in line behind, & then circled your wagons around, the immoral criminal racist traitor Donald Trump, the most patently unfit person to hold the office of president in history.
— (((John M. Becker))) (@freedom2marry) October 24, 2019
You sound as demented as Trump. We want Republicans that stand for the rule of law and don’t toss their moral compass in the garbage for a corrupt “president”.
— Andrew Fine (@AFineBlogger) October 24, 2019
Not true senator. We only want you to uphold your oath of office rather than be a sycophant and enabler to an amoral authoritarian POTUS. You have frank crimes displayed in front of you and you keep talking about the emperor’s regalia.
— (((Howard Forman))) (@thehowie) October 24, 2019
“I shouldn’t even attempt to be moral because I’m not as good as Jesus” is the wildest take on Christianity that I’ve ever seen. https://t.co/Kb60QPIGiv
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) October 24, 2019
The “two things are true” Twitter format very seldom includes two things that are in fact true. https://t.co/JVolNJzJC7
— David Frum (@davidfrum) October 24, 2019
Seriously dude?! pic.twitter.com/fe1SfyqUvk
— emmafrost (@emmafrost8) October 24, 2019
Dude, take a knee. https://t.co/QGyBC1Jczw
— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) October 24, 2019
Too bad your party doesn’t practice what Jesus preached. The bigotry, the hate, the misogyny, the greed. “And Jesus wept” “ https://t.co/4uJtRmM3QZ
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) October 24, 2019
The modern Republican creed: we can’t turn on Trump because then liberals will win. https://t.co/pPFlG4jZYy
— Michael Cohen (@speechboy71) October 24, 2019
DeVos Promotes Plan to Hand Over Billions in Federal Tax Credits for Private, Religious, and Home Schooling
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been touring the country to promote her plan to hand over billion of dollars in federal tax credits to dramatically expand the number of students attending private schools, religious schools, or even being homeschool. The program, part of a bill in Congress, would be funded through private donations in exchange for tax credits. In other words, tax dollars would effectively be paying for the program, as those dollars will have to be made up by taxpayers.
Secretary DeVos’ “Education Freedom Scholarships” program would continue the Trump administration’s blurring of the lines between church and state. Just last week Sec. DeVos announced the Dept. of Education will no longer ban religious organizations from being funded with taxpayer dollars for secular projects.
The Dept. of Education claims up to $5 billion annually could be allocated, but Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who spoke at an event with DeVos to roll out his bill to support the program (video below), said it would be $10 billion.
The reception in Sec. DeVos’ stop in Iowa appeared less than enthusiastic.
“Pitching her proposal to fund scholarships for private school and home-schooled students, federal education secretary Betsy DeVos met behind closed doors Friday with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and other state leaders and lobbyists,” Iowa’s Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports.
The paper notes that Waterloo Community Schools’ Superintendent Jane Lindaman was “the lone public education representative invited to participate,” and described her as being “concerned.”
“I was surprised by the imbalance of people at this meeting today,” Lindaman told The Courier. “Out of 14 people, I was the only public school advocate. I quickly realized the responsibility and, quite honestly, the burden of speaking for the hundreds of thousands of kids who are in public education in Iowa.”
Here’s a local news report from Alabama last month that features Sec. DeVos and Senator Ted Cruz, a big home schooling advocate, promoting his bill and the Secretary’s program. Cruz endorses the federal government effectively paying for private and religious education, calling it a “civil rights issue.”
In 2015 Sen. Cruz spoke with homeschooling parents, telling them LGBT people are waging “jihad” on Christianity.
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