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DeVos makes pitch for vouchers to expand "education freedom" in Michigan

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U.S. Department of Education
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U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says she hopes Michigan will allow public money to be spent on tuition for private schools in the “foreseeable future.”

DeVos and her family have supported school voucher programs in the state for years. But voters rejected the idea in 2000.

DeVos raised the issue Monday while speaking at the Education Writers Association conference in Baltimore.

“The reality is Michigan doesn’t have wide open choice,” DeVos said. “Michigan only has the opportunity to offer charter schools. And in my book, that’s one step toward choice, but that’s not, that’s not, education freedom.”

A representative for the state’s largest teachers union says public vouchers for private schools are not allowed in Michigan because voters have said they don’t want it to be allowed.

“It is against the Michigan Constitution,” says Doug Pratt of the Michigan Education Association. “And voters want it to be against the Michigan constitution for taxpayer money to go to private schools.”

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Radio’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Radio since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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