Politics

Tim Kaine tries and fails to get Betsy DeVos to agree that disabled students deserve equal protection

When U.S. Senator and former vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine grilled Donald Trump‘s pick for education secretary Betsy DeVos this Tuesday, he had some trouble getting her to give him a straight answer on matters of accountability when it came to schools receiving tax-payer funding.

“Do you think [K-12 schools] that receive government funding should meet the same accountability standards — outcome standards?” Kaine asked.

“All schools that receive public funding should be accountable, yes,” DeVos replied.

“Should meet the same accountability standards…” Kaine clarified.

“Yes, although you have different accountability standards between traditional public schools and charter schools,” she said.

“Public, charter, private, K-12 schools, if they receive tax-payer funding, they should meet the same accountability standards?” Kaine pressed.

“Yes, they should be very transparent with the information and parents should have that information first and foremost.” DeVos replied.

“And if confirmed, will you insist upon that equal accountability in any K-12 school or educational program that receives federal funding, whether public, public charter, or private?” Kaine asked.

“I support accountability,” she said.

DeVos repeated this answer three times as Kaine tried to get her to be more specific. As she continued to be vague, Kaine moved on to his next question.

“Should all K-12 schools receiving governmental funding be required to meet the requirements of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act?”

“I think they already are,” she replied.

Kaine asked her to be more specific.

“I think that’s a matter that’s best left to the states,” DeVos said.

“So some states might be good to kids with disabilities, and some states might not be so good, and then people can just move around the country if they don’t like the way their kids are being treated?” Kaine shot back.

DeVos repeated that it she thought it should be decided on a state-by-state basis.

“Let me state this,” Kaine said as he wrapped up. “I think all schools that receive federal funding – public, public charter or private – should be required to meet the conditions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act…it’s a federal law.”

During Kaine’s questioning, he pointed out DeVos’s past comments where she said “government really sucks,” and that the public school system is a “dead-end.”

Watch the video below:

Featured image: Screen grab via The Washington Post

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