Last week was a busy one for Betsy DeVos. She spent Tuesday and Wednesday visiting schools in New York City. But there was something conspicuous about her school visits.
She only visited private religious schools, she avoided public schools. She visited two Orthodox Jewish schools and then she met with Catholic leaders and the Alfred E. Smith Foundation, which is dedicated to raising money for Catholic interests.
It was in her meeting with the Alfred E. Smith Foundation that she made some of the most blatant statements to date about funneling taxpayer money towards Christian schools.
The focus of DeVos's remarks were the Blaine Amendments, which were passed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by a majority of U.S. states. The amendments prohibit public funds from being used for private religious schools. DeVos sees these amendments as religious persecution, but I wonder what she would think if an Imam from a Muslim school demanded government funding.
Excerpts from DeVos's speech are below, you can find more here.
"These Blaine provisions prohibit taxpayer funding of 'sectarian' – a euphemism at that time for “Catholic” – activities...
These amendments are still on the books in 37 states. They were bigoted then, and they still are today.
But there’s hope that Blaine won’t be around much longer. As many of you know, the Supreme Court ruled in last year’s Trinity Lutheran case that it was unconstitutional for a playground restoration program funded by state-taxpayers to exclude a school 'simply because of what it is – a church.'
These amendments should be assigned to the ash heap of history and this 'last acceptable prejudice' should be stamped out once and for all."
DeVos went on to say, "I didn’t take this job to win over editorial boards or to be trending on social media. I took it to serve students."
No, you do not care about serving students, Betsy. You only care about furthering your theocratic goals. If students were your main concern you would have shown an interest in the 1.1 million students in New York City public schools. Instead you are laser-focused on getting taxpayer money into the hands of religious schools and brainwashing children with delusional Iron Age fairy tales.
The Supreme Court case that DeVos mentioned involving Trinity Lutheran is from a story that I covered last June. In that post I expressed my fears over what that decision could mean for Betsy DeVos's religiously-motivated goals. Unfortunately, I was right to be afraid.
Hopefully DeVos's ineptitude, which we have video evidence for, will mean that she is unable to actually accomplish her goals anytime soon. Then we just need to get her out of office and replace her with someone who actually knows something about education.