Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Investing in Equal Access to Education

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Investing in Equal Access to Education

At last Wednesday’s House Appropriation Subcommittee hearing, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos defended President Trump’s proposed budget and its top priority: more school choice. We in the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area have a different priority: equal access to a quality education for all students, regardless of background.

To add money for school choice and voucher programs, the 2018 budget cuts federal subsidies for other education initiatives like these: After-school programs serve 1.6 million students, many of them poor. Work-study programs provide funds for colleges to hire students and help them pay for their education. This makes lower-income students more likely to graduate and reduces the college operating costs. For students who cannot attend college, Career and Technical training teaches job skills that enable these young people to earn a better living.

In the new global economy, our students will compete with well-educated young people from many other developed countries. If we want our students to succeed, we must invest in education programs that work, like many of those cut in the 2018 Education budget proposal.

We believe that helping every student succeed is the key to ensuring our future. To pay for more school choice, this budget diverts our taxpayer dollars from public schools that are held accountable for student performance to charter and private schools that some states do not hold accountable. We hope our legislators will carefully study the President’s budget proposals and reject those that deprive any students of the resources they need to succeed in our increasingly technical world.

Helen Kelly, Action Director

League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area