Over the past few days, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has caught heat over her proposed 2020 fiscal year budget. In the proposed plan, DeVos would be cutting funds for a historic organization, and it's not going over well with the public. Just take a look at these tweets about Betsy DeVos' Special Olympics budget proposal and see for yourself.
On Tuesday, March 26, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos appeared before the House subcommittee to discuss her proposed budget for the new fiscal year. While speaking to the subcommittee, DeVos stated that she and her department had to "make some difficult decisions," which includes an $18 million budget cut towards non-profit organization Special Olympics. The organization, which hosts a worldwide sporting competition for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities, was founded in 1968 and sponsors over five million athletes from 170 countries.
During the subcommittee hearing, Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan from Wisconsin told DeVos that 272,000 U.S. children would be impacted if this budget cut went through. DeVos defended the cut by stating that the Special Olympics receives support from other philanthropic organizations and sectors.
In a statement posted to Twitter on March 27, DeVos defended the move. "The Special Olympics is not a federal program. It’s a private organization. I love its work, and I have personally supported its mission," she wrote. "Given our current budget realities, the federal government cannot fund every worthy program, particularly ones that enjoy robust support from private donations." DeVos is also a champion of charter schools, which are schools which are publicly funded but privately run, and may be for-profit enterprises.
Since DeVos' hearing, Twitter has been calling out the education secretary for the "cruelty" of her decision to cut the Special Olympic's funds. Truth be told, they're pretty ruthless.
A huge portion of the criticism towards DeVos is in regards to her net worth, which is reportedly $1.3 billion, according to February 2018 article from Business Insider. It makes her the richest member of Trump's cabinet. According to Politico, DeVos donated nearly $200,000 of her salary last year to four non-profits, which included Special Olympics. Despite the donation, the Trump administration's 2019 budget request still called for over $10 million be cut from the Special Olympics funding that year, which caused the organization's athletes and program leaders to speak out against the decision and stress how critical public funding is in February 2018. At the time, the administration reportedly planned to initially cut $12.5 million from Special Olympics' budget, but according to a March 26 report from The Hill, this year's proposed cut is even higher. For the 2020 budget, DeVos has proposed cutting $18 million. Elite Daily reached out to the Special Olympics' media team for comment on the proposed budget cuts, but did not hear back in time for publication.
Overall, DeVos' proposed budget would eliminate a total of $7 billion from educational programs. According to Rolling Stone, the Special Olympics is just one of several programs that would be cut focusing on those with special needs.
Judging by the response to DeVos' budget plan, I have a feeling that this decision won't be passed without a fight. Who knows what the future of the Special Olympics will be, but let's hope that it receives enough funding to continue its legacy.