Terrus Stands for Public Schools
WASHINGTON, DC -- Senator James Terrus (D-MT) yesterday voted to defeat a radical Republican proposal to defund public education, calling it "an unprecedented attack upon the American dream."
Terrus voted to table Senate Bill 5 (SB5), a bill that would repeal the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in favor of providing unspecified block grants to the states. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is the bedrock of federal school funding and support, having been enacted on a bipartisan basis in 1965 in a bid to improve America's schools. The ESEA seeks to address disparities between rich and poor students by funding poverty-stricken school districts, and also to improve the education of all public school students through technology, teacher training, and other specialized grants. SB5 would repeal the ESEA, replacing with with a flat black grant to states for education funding. Under SB5, every state would have to use vouchers, redirecting public funds towards wealthy private schools.
Senator Terrus condemned SB5 in a statement, calling it a "radical right-wing assault upon public education." "This bill is a blatant attempt to defund the public school system," he wrote in a statement. "The Republicans say they'll provide as much money through block grants, but the thing about block grants is that they're easy to reduce over time, and that's the real goal here: to cut education funding. To the extent that the GOP would fund education, they want to shift that money as much as possible to private schools to help rich kids that, frankly, don't need any more help. I favor school choice, but I don't favor federal mandates, and I certainly don't favor using government tax dollars to subsidize rich kids attending private schools that are inaccessible for the poor and middle-class."
Terrus pledged to oppose the bill, saying that "I will always stand to defend public schools and the millions of American children that rely upon them."