Betsy DeVos visits Upstate, promotes new school-choice proposal


GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The U.S. Secretary of Education visited the Upstate to promote the Education Freedom Scholarship.

On Thursday parents, students and school leaders from across the Upstate were invited to a roundtable discussion at Hidden Treasures Christian School in Taylors.

The topic of the discussion is the new proposed Education Freedom Scholarship. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos believes it’s a solid plan to reform education.

“We have invested over a trillion dollars at the federal level alone in K-12 education. Specifically targeted to try to reduce the achievement gap. That has not narrowed one bit,” said DeVos.

According to DeVos businesses and individuals would donate to educational charities in exchange for federal tax breaks. The charities would be picked by individual states. That allows each state to select organizations specific to the needs of its students.

In South Carolina, leaders say one need is transportation.

“To have a proposal that would make transportation dollars available so that some of the kids in the poorest neediest communities, to open up a pathway from them to be able to access that educational choice through this program would be a huge huge deal for us,” said Chief Executive Officer for Charter Institute at Erskine Cameron Runyan told 7News.

Governor Henry McMaster says the funding opens up endless possibilities for South Carolina.

“It could be for special needs. It could be for new teachers. It could be for new courses in the schools,” McMaster said.

DeVos expects the proposal to generate upwards of 5 billion dollars. That would be split among states.

“If all 50 states were to participate, I believe the number annual [per state] would be a little more than $80 million dollars,” DeVos said.

If passed, states would not be required to participate.

DeVos could not provide a timeline for when the proposal will go before congress.

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