Education Secretary DeVos’ Agenda Rejected in Budget Bill

Congress unveiled its $1.3 trillion budget bill agreement Wednesday night, which dealt a blow to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ push toward school choice. The Washington Post reports the bill rejects DeVos’ “attempt to spend more than $1 billion promoting choice-friendly policies and private-school vouchers.” DeVos had aimed to cut funding for after-school programs and “a grant program that helps low-income students go to college,” to use the money to fund school-choice initiatives. She also wanted to ax grants for mental-health programs. The bill provides no funding for school-choice projects, and instead boosts mental-health programs by $700 million, puts $22 million toward handling school violence, and increases funding for tuition-aid programs and after-school programs. DeVos’ other budget proposals, including cutting early-childhood education and capping Pell Grants—were rebuffed in the omnibus bill as well. This is the second year that Congress has rejected the secretary’s proposals.