Education Secretary to push school vouchers at Arizona event

Associated Press

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (AP) — U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is set to address a group of conservative state lawmakers to tout her $5 billion plan to fund tuition for private school students. 

DeVos will also join Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey for a separate roundtable discussion at the same Scottsdale resort where DeVos will address a conference held by the American Legislative Exchange Council. The group known as ALEC drew protesters from several liberal groups and teachers at the start of the three-day event on Wednesday.

DeVos is pushing her plan to create "Education Freedom Scholarships" that allow businesses and individuals to get 100% federal tax credits for donations they make to scholarship-granting groups. The Republican is a major backer of school vouchers and formerly led the American Federation for Children, which pushes the programs in Arizona and other states. 

Arizona public school teachers revolted in 2018 and persuaded voters to block an expansion of the state's school voucher program enacted by the GOP-controlled Legislature and endorsed by Ducey. Voters rejected the expansion by a nearly 2-1 margin. Tens of thousands of teachers also went on strike that year over low pay and school funding. 

DeVos says her new program allows parents to choose the best education for their children. Public education backers say vouchers and private school tax credit plans drain tax dollars that should be supporting public schools. 

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