SPLC: Department of Education's proposed priorities undermine public education and commitment to all students

The U.S. Department of Education’s (DOE’s) proposed discretionary spending priorities abandon the agency’s longstanding commitment to a high-quality education for all students, and undermine public schools across the country, the SPLC said in comments submitted yesterday to the DOE.

The comments are in response to the DOE’s “Notice of Proposed Supplemental Priorities and Definitions for Discretionary Grant Programs,” which sets spending priorities for the agency’s $700 million discretionary grant fund.

“Instead of setting forth priorities that reflect a comprehensive agenda to increase equity and promote student outcomes, the Secretary’s Notice does just the opposite,” the letter states.

The SPLC opposes the department’s decision to eliminate priorities related to school diversity, community engagement, and access to technology. The SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance project has long found, when educators work to ensure that schools are inclusive, welcoming, and diverse environments, all children benefit.

In the letter, the SPLC also urged the department to drop a new priority that diverts government funds from public schools to private school vouchers.

The letter urges the agency and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to use funds to support programs that “reflect the Department’s longstanding commitments to providing high-quality education to all students.”