Contact: Timothy Svoboda, (202) 225-2476
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, at a House Education and Labor Committee hearing, Congressman Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah) questioned Department of Education (DOE) Secretary, Betsy DeVos, about Department of Education Priorities. Grothman focused on two specific topics. First, her plans to ensure individuals with disabilities have more choices in their employment opportunities. Second, her plan to promote dual enrollment opportunities so high school students can finish college quicker and with less debt.
Excerpts of Grothman’s questioning
Grothman: “We’ve talked before about AbilityOne programs and state programs in which people with different abilities than ourselves have an opportunity to experience the satisfaction of work, the ability to earn their own paycheck, and the ability to have a setting in which they are able to socialize with so many people. Right now, there are people out there who want to get rid of these, what used to be called sheltered workshops, now we call work centers. I wonder if you could comment in the future if there is a direction the department would like to go in regard to protecting not just these work centers, but even more, the people who work in them?”
DeVos: “Well congressman I know that you have a great heart for these individuals and for the opportunities that are within your district and with regard to the specific guidance that you’re asking about, we are still in the process of evaluating and reviewing it, and know that we share the same goal of ensuring that all individuals, particularly individuals with disabilities, have the opportunity to work in an environment that is challenging for them and works for them and that they will have choices in that prospect as well. So we will continue to work together to meet that end.”
Grothman: “There are so many tens of thousands of people who enjoy working in their current setting. I know it is difficult you get this big job and the number of rules and laws and employees you are responsible for is overwhelming. Do you think you would ever be able to take time out of your busy schedule and tour one of these facilities and see firsthand what is going on?”
DeVos: “I would love to be able to, I know our assistant secretary Johnny Collett has and said he really appreciated his visit and gained a much greater understanding of the places you have been referring to.”
Grothman: “I would like to switch gears entirely to dual enrollment programs. We’ve got to do what we can to get people in the world of work without excessive student loan debt and quite frankly the earlier they get to work in their life, the quicker they will be able to afford a new house, the quicker they will be able to get married and have children. Do you think that an advanced degree can guarantee that students are receiving a high quality education that can lead to a good job in their field, or do you have a comment in general about what we can do to facilitate dual enrollment programs?”
DeVos: “Well this administration does support much more robust dual enrollment opportunities as well as supporting a variety of career paths that heretofore really have not been supported in the ways they should be and that there is opportunity for so many students to pursue a really meaningful career that does not require a four-year college or university degree, so we will continue to support all of those initiatives that enhance those opportunities and support states and regions in their efforts to specifically address those opportunities in their geographies.”
Grothman: “I appreciate you standing up to the special interests. There is money to be made in standing in the way of these dual enrollment programs and accreditation but I appreciate you standing up to the people who think accreditation comes first and the students come second. So thank you again for coming over here today.”
Click here to view Grothman’s remarks.