Betsy DeVos defends $17.6 million proposed cut to Special Olympics
Special Olympics Michigan is based on Central Michigan University's campus
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos defended a proposed $17.6 million cut to Special Olympics funding Tuesday after preparing the Department of Education's budget proposal for the next fiscal year.
"We are not doing our children any favors when we borrow from their future in order to invest in systems and policies that are not yielding better results," DeVos told a Democratic-led House subcommittee.
DeVos said Special Olympics should be supported by philanthropy and defended her "difficult decision." A cut of this size eliminates Special Olympics from the Department of Education's spending completely.
During the questioning, Rep. Mark Pocan asked DeVos if she knew how many kids were going to be affected. DeVos again cited "difficult decisions" and didn't answer the question. Pocan said more than 270,000 children are going to be affected by these cuts.
Special Olympics USA is an organization that helps people with disabilities participate and play sports. The most recent Special Olympics USA Games were held in 2018 with more than 4,000 athletes and coaches.
Special Olympics Michigan is based on Central Michigan University's campus. At SOMI's last State Summer Games competition, held on campus each summer, 2,900 athletes competed in 10 different competitions. Central Michigan Life has reached out to SOMI for comment.
Special Olympics USA Chairman Timothy Shriver appeared on MSNBC Wednesday to condemn the proposed cuts.
“While the philanthropic traditions we have of volunteerism and private support are important, we’re now in a new ballgame of trying to educate young people about the importance of an inclusive mindset to the future of the country," Shriver said.
“Give these young people the chance to shine, to tell their stories, as you’ve heard. The country is starving for this.”
This was the first time DeVos, a Michigan native, has been called forward to defend the Department of Education's budget proposals. Her proposed cuts and comments before the subcommittee have drawn national criticism.