Betsy DeVos will be kicking off her "Back To School" tour next week. And it will start by announcing loudly and clearly what her preferred goal for education is. No reading between the lines will be necessary.
On Monday, September 16, 2019, Secretary DeVos will visit St. Marcus Lutheran School, a school that serves 900 students, nearly all of whom benefit from the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. While there, she will tour the school, host a roundtable focused on the importance of education freedom with parents, students and educators, and deliver keynote remarks.
And what sort of school is St. Marcus Lutheran School? The website lays it out. No excuses. Discipline and love. Relentless high expectations. Oh, and this part--
St. Marcus School is driven by its mission to disciple children for Christ, now and for all eternity, and to train them in excellence for their roles in their family, church, community, workplace and country.
Still unclear? This should help:
Our core values are Christ First, Biblical Discipleship, Sacrificial Love, and Radical Expectations.
Years ago, before she knew she's have a gummint job or that she'd have to start being more, um, diplomatic, DeVos and the Mr. were quite clear about their goals-- advance God's kingdom. Talk to a hard right Christian folks, and you will hear about how the church needs to "take back the schools." And vouchers for folks like DeVos are not about choice or freedom or liberty nearly as much as they are about steering tax dollars into the support of churches.
The thing is, where voucher systems are implemented, it's working. In Milwaukee, where it's mnot working quite as well as in some other voucher hot spots like Indiana, 9 out of every 10 voucher students is attending a Christian school.
So Wisconsin taxpayers, including the atheists, the Muslims, the ones who believe that the separation of church and state is a good thing-- they get to contribute tax dollars to a school where Jesus is a cornerstone of the curriculum while public schools go begging. These religious schools answer, of course, to their church authority and do not answer to the public at all.
At worst, it's a gross violation of the basic principle of keeping a wall between the church and the government. At best, it's a massive rewrite-without-discussion of the fundamental mission of public education.
Either way, it's one more clear indication that the top federal education official in this country does not believe that preserving, protecting and strengthening public education is her mission. That dead end can be shut down and its functions taken over by the church. And she's going to kick off her Back To School tour by saying so.