Ivanka Trump, Betsy DeVos Urging Teens To Consider STEM Careers? Government Intervation, School Choice Support Spark Concerns

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald March 29, 09:29 am

Ivanka Trump and Betsy DeVos encouraged female students on Tuesday to pursue careers under STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Amid this, Conservatives expressed their main concern regarding school choice as it becomes the main focus of the new Secretary of Education, especially in terms of extra funding and government intervention.

Trump and DeVos went to the National Air and Space Museum with middle school students. During the our, Trump told the students only 48 percent of women make up the work force in the United States while only 24 percent took STEM careers. Trump revealed she and her five-year-old daughter, Arabella, planned to take a coding class this summer because it is the language of the future.

Aside from DeVos and Trump, astronaut Kay Hire and other female researchers from NASA talked to the students and urged them to work hard, mentor their peers and follow the footsteps of women in the STEM careers. The tour and the talks came after the Trump administration announced they planned to cut budget for education and science. They said they want to cut $3 billion from the Education Department as well as make cuts to NASA and the National Institute of Health, KRQE News 13 shared.

Due to the budget cuts proposals, the American Federation of Teachers accused DeVos and Trump of hypocrisy. The president of the federation, Randi Weingarten, said the visit at National Air and Space Museum and the talks to the students about pursuing STEM careers were only for photo ops. Weingarten added the next generation of astronauts, scientists, engineers and mathematicians "need support, not budget cuts eliminating the very programs being promoted."

As for Conservatives who cautioned DeVos and her department on school choice, Mike Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a right-leaning education think tank in the District of Columbia, said there are real reasons to be worried about school choice due to funding. During the Trump campaign, the president said he will give families $20 billion for school choice but in his 2018 budget, he only proposed $1.4 billion for the matter, USA Today reported.

As of current, private spending reaches around $50 to $60 billion yearly and if the Trump administration will add $20 billion more, it could result to the federal government having a 30 percent market share in private education. It will affect the marketplace altogether and affect private schools in a negative light.

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