Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visits Milwaukee, draws protests

NOW: Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visits Milwaukee, draws protests

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Protestors gathered outside a school Monday as Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos paid Milwaukee a visit. Secretary DeVos' visit drew both praise and criticism from local parents.

DeVos' visit to St. Marcus Lutheran School in Milwaukee is to celebrate the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. Now in its 30th year, the program has allowed families, regardless of their income, to choose the school that best fits their child. 

While in Milwaukee, DeVos toured the school, hosted a round table with parents, students, and educators, and delivered keynote remarks. 2019 marks the third year a tour like this has taken place. 

The focus of this year's tour, however, was on how the secretary's Education Freedom Scholarship proposal will help supplement local efforts to rethink school and expand education options for students across the country. The proposal would provide $5 billion in federal tax credits for donations made towards private schools and other programs. 

But not everyone was in favor of her visit on Monday. CBS 58 spoke with protestors who wanted to voice their frustration with the diversion of funds from public schools. 

"They're taking money from public schools to give to private schools and that is the Trump agenda. It is an attack on public education and are we going to fight back? Are we going to fight to stop the war on public education?" said Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Ben Wikler to a crowd of protestors. 

"There's no expectation or no mandate that every state would want to or need to participate, but if they do, and I would expect that Wisconsin would probably choose to do so, individuals would give to 501c3s as designated by the State of Wisconsin to be scholarship-funding organizations for students. 

All of Monday's events were closed to public school parents. 

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