June 06, 2017

Manchin Questions Betsy Devos on Effects of Proposed Education Budget in West Virginia

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) questioned U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos today when she testified in front of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies on the Department of Education’s FY 2018 budget.

Senator Manchin expressed his concern about the significant cuts to the Department of Education and its effects on schools, students and families in West Virginia. In his questioning, he said he is especially troubled by the budget’s impact on funding for schools in rural communities, Medicaid in schools, and substance abuse counseling in schools, which are especially important in the Mountain State. He will seek further answers from the Secretary about the devastating cuts to Career and Technical Education grants, TRIO and GEAR UP funding, and the Full Community Schools program, which funds programs like Reconnecting McDowell.

Senator Manchin also highlighted the importance of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program – which provides critical funding for afterschool programs and which this budget request would completely eliminate. He made sure to recognize West Virginians in the audience who were in Washington D.C. to stress the importance of this program.

“Pamela Shope, who is the director for the Playmates Preschool and Child Development Center in Ceredo, WV which is a 21st Century Community Learning Center site. She understands the importance of afterschool programs for all of the children she serves and is also a mom whose children – Brennon and Aiden – have benefited from these important programs,” Senator Manchin said. “Secretary DeVos, I hope that you will take some time to talk with this family about the importance of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers in West Virginia and the impact it has had on their lives.”

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s questioning, please click here.

In January Senator Manchin voted against Betsy Devos’ nomination to be the Secretary of Education because of lack of exposure and understanding of public education. Throughout her career, Secretary DeVos has been a proponent of school choice including public school vouchers and charter schools. This approach does not match the needs of our rural communities in West Virginia and would pull already limited public school resources from the schools, students and teachers.