Betsy DeVos was grilled yesterday in Congressional hearings about her budget proposals. She was repeatedly questioned about her desire to increase charter school funding from $440 million to $500 million a year. The Network for Public Education report on the waste, fraud, and abuse in this program was cited.

While increasing the charter budget, DeVos wants to cut $18 million from the Special Olympics, which benefits 272,000 children with disabilities. 

To put it mildly, her priorities are wacky. She wants to cut the budget of a successful and valuable program while heaping money on charters that are likely to never open or quickly close.

DeVos said the philanthropic community already funds the Special Olympics. The same is true of charters. Billionaires and Wall Street heap hundreds of millions on charters. The Waltons alone have spent more than a billion on charters. Why does the Federal government add hundreds of millions more?

To add insult to injury. She is proposing a 12% cut for the Department but a 15% increase in executive salaries.

Then there was this exchange, reported by Politico:

“— Another concern raised by Democrats was the department’s proposal to cut funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which funds aftercare. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) questioned DeVos about why she’s attempting again to cut a program that’s long had bipartisan support and has shown results. She noted that Congress had rebuffed the proposal last year, and instead gave the program a $10 million boost.

“— DeVos responded that the funds flowing out of the program aren’t necessarily getting to the centers that work really well and there aren’t great participation rates. She said the department’s budget focused on things “we really know are yielding results.””

If DeVos cared about results, the Department would cut funding new charters (many of which will never open, will close soon after they opened, will get poor results, or will cherrypick the students likeliest to succeed on tests), and eliminate all proposed funding to vouchers, which consistently get very poor results.

The only good thing about the DeVos heading was that Anthony Cody arrived early, sat directly behind DeVos, and scowled throughout her testimony, prominently featured on CSPAN. He was her Greek chorus.