DeVos touts school choice, STEM for $4B in grants

WASHINGTON — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos put forth a new set of priorities Thursday for states, schools and universities competing for federal grant money.

The priorities include school choice, science and technology, special education and school safety.

The Education Department awards approximately $4 billion per year in new and continuation competitive grants across some 80 programs. Education secretaries have historically used these competitions to push their priorities.

"It's a little nudge," said Chad Aldeman, an associate partner at Bellwether Education Partners. "This allows the department to nudge the education field toward these priorities."

There are a total of 11 priorities on DeVos' list. After receiving public comments on these proposals, the agency will settle on one or several of them.

Promoting school choice has been a key focus of the Trump administration. School choice refers to providing parents and their children with options besides their district public school, such as charter schools, vouchers or education savings accounts to attend private schools.

DeVos and her supporters say these options better serve students' individual needs and can benefit children whose local schools are underperforming. Critics say charter and private schools don't necessarily outperform neighborhood schools and they lack accountability mechanisms.

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the top Democrat on the Senate committee devoted to education, criticized DeVos' priorities as a way to privatize education and said the department should be focusing on supporting local, public education.

"Since her confirmation hearing, I have voiced concern that Secretary DeVos would abuse her position to prioritize privatization, and that's exactly what we're seeing," Murray said. "Instead of listening to the millions of students, parents and teachers who stood up against her extreme ideological agenda, her proposal will allow her to prioritize applicants that would siphon taxpayer funds away from the public schools that serve the vast majority of students."

You may also interested in

Dakota Access pipeline owners sue North Dakota protesters

Aug 15, 2016

Developers of a $3.8 billion, four-state oil pipeline are asking a federal judge to order protesters in North Dakota to stop interfering with the project

Indonesia airlines cleared to fly to US after safety upgrade

Aug 16, 2016

The U.S. aviation regulator has upgraded Indonesia's safety rating, clearing the way for its airlines to fly to North America nearly a decade after it was barred

Miner BHP Billiton suffers $6.4 billion loss for 2015-16

Aug 16, 2016

The world's biggest miner, BHP Billiton, on Tuesday reported a $6.4 billion loss _ the Anglo-Australian company's worst ever full-year result

People also read these

Fidel Castro thanks Cuba, criticizes Obama, on 90th birthday

Aug 14, 2016

Fidel Castro thanked Cubans for their well-wishes on his 90th birthday and criticized President Barack Obama in a lengthy letter published in state media

Russian man faces US trial in lucrative hacking scheme

Aug 14, 2016

Prosecutors describe Roman Seleznev (sah-LEZ-nof), the son of a Russian lawmaker, as a master hacker who orchestrated an international scheme that resulted in about $170 million in fraudulent credit card purchases

Indonesia airlines cleared to fly to US after safety upgrade

Aug 16, 2016

The U.S. aviation regulator has upgraded Indonesia's safety rating, clearing the way for its airlines to fly to North America nearly a decade after it was barred

Weather, 20 December
Houston Weather
+7

High: +11° Low: -2°

Humidity: 83%

Wind: NNE - 7 KPH

Canberra Weather
+27

High: +27° Low: +17°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: W - 20 KPH

Roissy-en-France Weather
+6

High: +6° Low: -5°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: ENE - 7 KPH

Florence Weather
+9

High: +9° Low: +6°

Humidity: 97%

Wind: ENE - 17 KPH

Parga Weather
+7

High: +16° Low: +4°

Humidity: 100%

Wind: SE - 25 KPH