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A letter to the secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Education Dear Secretary DeVos,


Though I doubt that this letter will reach your desk, I find it ever more necessary as a public school student to address you. I am white, I am Christian, I have a 4.0 GPA, my family lives comfortably, and I do not face many adverse challenges in life; i.e., I am the ideal candidate for your “School Choice” initiative. However, I think what you are doing is WRONG.

Going to a public school, I see the people that will be affected by your various initiatives every day. Many of them get free lunches at school and face violence in the home. They do not deserve to be treated in such an abhorrent way by our government. They are the future of our world, and so I see that in your duty as secretary of Education, that you care for them as well.

At my high school, Lake Roosevelt Jr./Sr. High, over half of all students are below the poverty line. Additionally, our school district, which consists of almost 800 students, is increasing in size, even with new facilities built in 2015 that were only designed for around 650 students.

Grand Coulee Dam School District (GCDSD) resides near the Grand Coulee Dam, which just so happens to be the largest hydroelectric plant in the United States and employs around 500 people, a number which is ever increasing, and also burdening our district with more and more students. With your school choice initiative, even less money would go to our district, because either the Bureau of Reclamation or the Colville Confederated Tribes owns most of the land in our school district. Due to this, we have little to no tax base with which to supplement our meager state funding. Your “School Choice” initiative would leave our area’s students with no other alternatives, as other local town’s schools are also overburdened with students, and, big surprise, there are no private schools within a feasible driving distance of our district.

Additionally, if (because of your) budget cuts, our school closes in two years, the Grand Coulee Dam area will have no educational choices for Grand Coulee Dam employees, which would greatly reduce hiring rates, which would lower the efficiency of the dam, which would bring back even less money to the government — so are you getting my drift? Your public school budget cuts will cost you, and will cost this generation the education we have a right to.

Your “School Choice” initiative would also allow state funds to go to religious institutions, which by the way, is illegal in Washington. These private schools would be able to discriminate based on religion, ethnicity, test scores, sexual orientation, gender and more, which violates many constitutional rights.

Since many of our students get free or reduced lunches, (66.7 percent) changing regulations on school lunches will affect our students, because for most students, that is the only stable meal they get. If regulations are removed, then students’ health will go down, and you will face even more problems.

As I was researching for this paper, I found that you went to a private Christian school. Assuming that you are still Christian, I ask you as a Christian myself if what you are doing helps anyone other than big corporation CEOs that want to get rich off of other Americans’ backs.

And so I ask you, does removing all regulations on school lunch help anyone other than the rich white men running the food industry? Does cutting public school funding really help anyone? And come on, do guns have a place in schools? The answer to all of those questions is NO!

The purpose of the Department of Education is to further the education of the American student body, so if Mr. Trump wants to make America great again, (it still is), then you will need to invest in education. America is 17th in educational performance, and the only way to really further America is to make sure that our citizens are educated. And as the old saying goes, “Knowledge is Power,” so follow your Christian duty, and do what is right.

At my church, we have a theme that says, “…We will stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places…” So do what is right for the American people, not only what is “right” for the one percent.

With Kind Regards,

Lillie LaPlace

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