Usually, members of the President’s Cabinet go before Congress to defend their department’s budget and to explain the good works the department is doing.

Not Secretary DeVos! She went to a Congressional heading to ask the Appropriations Committee to cut her budget.

Much has been made of her plea to zero out federal support for the Special Olympics, which backfired. Not only were the families of 272,000 participants offended but so were the families of many millions of people with disabilities. Trump quickly res indeed the cut, which was a tiny sliver of the ED budget, equivalent to six weekend trips to Mar-a-Lago by Trump.

Many more programs were jeopardized, as Denis Smith writes here.

“In her testimony before the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday, Betsy DeVos, the anti-public education Secretary of Education, was present to defend $7 billion in proposed cuts to her department. The cuts in the education budget are seen as measures to offset billions in lost revenue from tax breaks for the wealthy that have exploded the federal deficit.

“An examination of Trump’s FY2020 budget shows that the administration is asking to cut the Department of Education’s funding from $71 billion to $64 billion, eliminating 29 programs. In addition to zeroing out popular and proven programs like Special Olympics, which has garnered strong support during its 50-year existence, Pell Grants for higher education tuition assistance, literacy and after-school programs would also be adversely affected by new budget statements.

“Broadcast and print media were all over the story about a cabinet secretary who was as heartless as Genghis Kahn in laying waste to her department’s budget so that money could be freed up for other purposes. The one area that stood out the most was the elimination of $18 million in federal funds for Special Olympics and the added support the program provides for students with special needs….

”The Secretary’s propensity for cluelessness is seen in defending a budget that harms so many children with program cuts yet reserves a huge amount of public funds for charter schools, many of which are run by for-profit management companies. Her advocacy for increased funding for charter schools at a time when massive cuts are proposed for children with special needs is appalling, and when the Department of Education’s own inspector general examined the efficacy of the Charter Schools Program for state education agencies, where federal start-up grant funds are available to establish new charter schools…

”If there was any value in the Education Subcommittee hearing, it is that all should know without any doubt where the priorities of Republicans are in the area of education. Forget about kids and learning. Forget about being civic-minded and making investments in the community through public education. Instead, profit must be the result. In this model promoted by Republican budget priorities, students come in third behind profit/shareholder value and executive compensation for the for-profit school leaders. In this alternative universe, it’s all about people who look at market activity and portfolios and concern themselves with calculating yield on investment.”

The bottom line: Greed is good.

Fortunately, the Democrats who control the Appropriations Committee will not approve any of DeVos’s proposed cuts. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut is chair of the Education subcommittee. She questioned DeVos closely. DeVos will not get anything past DeLauro, a champion for children and public schools.