Democrat criticizes closed-door meeting of voucher advocates Kelsey ad DeVos

State Sen. Brian Kelsey, a leading advocate in so-unsuccessful efforts to establish a school voucher system in Tennessee, met behind closed doors Monday with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, reports The Tennessean. Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini denounced the meeting and the participants.

The meeting was disclosed on the U.S. secretary of education’s website containing DeVos’ weekly schedule.

DeVos, a supporter of charter schools and using public funds to send children to private school, known as vouchers, is a frequent target for Democrats. Noting Kelsey has repeatedly introduced legislation to allow school vouchers, Mancini said, “Public schools in every ZIP code need to be fully funded, and privatization would stretch funding even thinner than it currently is, hurting schools in every part of the state.”

… In addition to Kelsey’s work on vouchers, Mancini also criticized his support for DeVos. In February, Kelsey stumped for DeVos while she was undergoing a tense confirmation process.

… “It seems clear that Senator Kelsey is pushing programs devised by the special interests funding his campaigns and supported by extremists like Secretary DeVos,” Mancini said. “Tennesseans deserve to know what this meeting was about and why Senator Kelsey continues to file legislation that would devastate our public schools.”

Kelsey and his legislative assistant did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the meeting with DeVos.

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