USA education secretary sees no problem when schools refuse LGBT students

25 May 2017 - The USA federal secretary of education Betsy DeVos has stated she sees no problem if USA States discriminate LGBTQ students. GALE considers downgrading the status of the USA from “ambiguous” to a “denying” State on the GALE World Map.

USA States should be flexible

Wednesday DeVos said that states should have the flexibility to decide whether schools can discriminate against LGBTQ students. In the USA, schools are already allowed to discriminate when they are not State funded. The current statement of DeVos now includes schools that get federal money.
During a painful discussion in the subcommittee hearing, representative Katherine Clark told DeVos about the Lighthouse Christian Academy which even denies admission to students from families where there is “homosexual or bisexual activity” or someone “practicing alternate gender identity.” This is a clear breach of the basic right to education according to any human rights standard. Clark asked if DeVos would undertake action against such reprehensible policies. DeVos said she supports flexibility of States to make their own decisions.

Sliding to the bottom of ambiguity

Peter Dankmeijer, director of GALE, is shocked about the comments by De Vos. He says: “She does not want to take any responsibility for the implementation of the right to education.”
Dankmeijer also notes that the USA is one of the countries that never signed the Convention Against Discrimination in Education. “This statement just confirms the ongoing disinterest of the USA in equitable education. The current ongoing policy of privatization creates a rift between education for the rich and education for the poor. Affordable public education for the masses is constantly being defunded, while expensive high quality education for the rich get priority treatment. This strategy does not only crush human rights but will also destroy the US position in the world market.”

GALE is considering to downgrade the status of the USA from “ambiguous” to a “denying” State on the GALE World Map. Dankmeijer: “The US education system is decentralized and heavily commercialized with hardy any central quality criteria. This makes it by definition an ambiguous State. In such a context it is impossible to raise the quality of education to a “supportive” level”. However, it seems the USA is shifting towards the very low end of the “ambiguous” continuum. There are already signs of an attempted evangelical takeover of the education policy. When this happens, taboo and formal denial of LGBT rights sets in and the USA will have to be downgraded to a “denying” status.

Sources: Huffington Post, Washington Post, LA Times, NPR