In a recent interview with small-town Michigan newspaper The Detroit News, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos discussed her plans to make cuts within the Department of Education — throwing up red flags for GLSEN, an organization that fights for LGBT rights and protections.
“I can’t tell you today what is being done [at the Department of Education] that’s unnecessary,” DeVos told the publication. “But I can guarantee that there are things that the department has been doing that are probably not necessary or important for a federal agency to do. We’ll be looking at that.”
DeVos also shared that her biggest goal for education is to continue to “stoke and enhance a child’s creative and curious nature.”
In response to DeVos’s unclear plans on education cuts, Executive Director of GLSEN Dr. Eliza Byard released a statement urging the Secretary to continue to enforce LGBT protections against bullying and discrimination:
“With 66 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) students reporting having personally experienced LGBTQ-related discriminatory policies or practices at their school, protecting LGBTQ students is a necessity,” Byard said.
“Last year, a record number of families from across the country turned to the Department of Education for help,” Byard continued. “Sixteen-thousand reports of discrimination, each more heartbreaking than the next. Clearly, the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education is an essential service to the American people.”
The Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education currently has funding of $107 million, which is only a fraction of the proposed 2017 Department of Education budget of $69.4 billion in discretionary funding.
No concrete cuts have been proposed as of yet.
“I would hope by the time I leave to have allowed students across this country, particularly those who are today struggling the most, to find and go to a school where they are going to thrive in and grow and become everything they hope to be,” DeVos said.