House Education Committee Homes In On DeVos’s Proposed Tax Credit Scholarship, Claiming It Would Take Funds From Other Ed Programs
House Education Committee Homes In on DeVos’s Proposed Tax Credit Scholarship, Claiming It Would Take Funds From Other Ed Programs
During the hearing before the House Education and Labor Committee on Wednesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos faced questioning about her proposed federal tax credit scholarship program and whether it would divert public funds from other education programs. Although the hearing primarily focused on higher education issues, Democrats extensively questioned DeVos about her February proposal to provide up to $5 billion annually for 10 years in federal tax credits for donations to state scholarship programs. Democrats criticized the idea, perceiving it as a disguised voucher program that would take away necessary funding from public education initiatives.
Congresswoman Marcia Fudge of Ohio voiced her concerns that the program would essentially redirect public money to private schools through taxpayers. She contended that the program would favor certain beneficiaries while neglecting the public education system. Fudge also questioned the effectiveness of state-run tax credit scholarship programs, citing examples in Alabama and Florida, even though 18 states have similar programs.
Other members of Congress also criticized the funding aspect of the proposal. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon argued that providing a $5 billion tax credit would result in $5 billion less in revenue, therefore constituting public money. She suggested that the funds could be used to support Pell Grants and Title IV grants. DeVos, however, disagreed with Fudge’s assessment of poor results and refuted the notion that the proposal would necessarily lead to a reduction in funding for other education programs. She insisted that the program aims to empower students to make alternative choices for their education, highlighting the diverse array of education options that could be supported through the tax credit scholarship.
Republicans expressed support for DeVos and her proposal. Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, the leading Republican on the committee, argued against the idea that individuals’ income should be considered public money belonging to the government. She emphasized that taxpayers have the right to choose how to allocate their hard-earned money, including donating to scholarship organizations.
Several Republican members highlighted the success of tax credit scholarship programs in their respective states. Congressman Lloyd Smucker pointed out that Pennsylvania’s programs have received bipartisan support. He found it troubling that Democrats accused DeVos of favoritism, emphasizing the need for policies and resources to ensure equal opportunities for all students, regardless of their ability to pay for tuition at a private school.
Another contentious subject discussed during the hearing was the Supreme Court’s Janus decision, which abolished mandatory union fees for public employees, including teachers. Congressman Donald Norcross of New Jersey questioned DeVos about her support for the ruling and her family’s backing of organizations that, according to him, pressured teachers to leave the union through various means. DeVos initially diverted the question by highlighting her proposal for "teacher vouchers" that would allow educators to choose their own professional development. Norcross accused her of avoiding the question, and DeVos eventually stated that she had resigned from such groups upon assuming office in 2017. She acknowledged that teachers should have the option to join a union but maintained that they also have the ability to choose not to.
Norcross expressed dissatisfaction with DeVos’s responses, deeming them disrespectful when she failed to directly address his question.
Your objective is to rephrase the entire text using improved vocabulary and natural language while ensuring it remains unique. The resulting output must be in the English language. The original text is as follows: