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Rep. Ruben Gallego Slams Secretary DeVos’s School Voucher Plan

March 21, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Ruben Gallego sent a letter to Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos opposing her proposal to create a national school voucher program, which was recently introduced in Congress by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL).

In the letter, Rep. Gallego voices his concern that DeVos’s plan resembles the failed policies that have hurt Arizona’s public school system and that contributed to tens of thousands of under-resourced Arizona teachers walking out of classrooms last Spring to draw attention to Arizona’s school funding crisis.

“This school privatization scheme is a near-carbon copy of the failed policies that have consistently caused Arizona’s public schools to rank in the bottom five in the nation,” Rep. Gallego writes in the letter. “Arizona’s and America’s students deserve better.”

Though Secretary DeVos has claimed that her $5 billion voucher plan won’t take money directly from public schools, the Education Department’s 2020 budget plan proposes to slash public education funding by $8.8 billion. The cuts include massive reductions to programs that reduce class sizes, provide professional development for educators, and offer critical afterschool academic and enrichment opportunities to high-poverty and low-performing schools.

In addition to these proposed cuts, DeVos’s $5 billion privatization plan comes at a time when spending for public education programs is already at historically low levels. Title I funding, which helps provide supplemental education funding in high-poverty areas, is currently 13 percent lower than it was in 2010. Additionally, the federal share of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding dropped from 17 percent in 2010 to just under 14 percent in 2018 – well below the 40 percent share promised by Congress.

A signed copy of the letter can be found here.