False assurances given about federal education funding

False assurances given about federal education funding

March 16, 2017 | Vol. 120 — No. 48

Our state representatives Jeff Holy and Mike Volz of the 6th District,  both Republicans, held a town hall meeting in Spokane on March 11. The majority of the questions were posed by articulate and enthusiastic teachers in the area, many from Cheney and Medical Lake.

Our representatives assured the attendees that the authority of the federal Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, would not impact education in Washington State. Volz said in response to a question about vouchers undermining public education, “What they do at the national level does not impact our state constitution and our constitution is clear about funding public education in Washington state as a paramount duty. They can change what the national policy arrangement is and it doesn’t impact our state.”

Holy chimed in with the comment that if there is a conflict between the national government and the states, the courts would sort out the situation. My understanding is that DeVos could arrange for school pupils to obtain vouchers and use them for religious schools, virtual schools, transportation, home schooling, charter schools, public schools or savings for college. That would greatly undermine our public school system as the local public schools would lose some of  their funding.

I believe that people were left with the false assurance that Washington residents need not be concerned about what was happening to education at the federal level.

Nancy Street