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First Betsy DeVos Came for Transgender Students, Then for the Disabled, Now She’s Targeting Minority Children

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‘It Seems Betsy DeVos Is on a Mission to Decimate Basic Protections for Students at All Levels’

Just weeks into her tenure as Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos infamously rescinded guidance from the Obama administration detailing how schools could and should protect the civil rights of transgender students. At a far right wing conference one day later, the charter schools advocate who had never stepped into s public school until this year told supporters the guidance was an example of “huge overreach” by the Obama administration. 

DeVos then targeted children with disabilities, rescinding 72 documents designed to help explain to administrators how to protect the civil rights of those students. They also served to help parents and other laypeople understand what their children’s rights actually are. That move was made in early October, but not announced until last Friday.

Of course, DeVos attacking the civil rights of transgender students and students with disabilities should surprise no one. During her confirmation hearing DeVos refused to say children with disabilities deserve equal protection in schools, and in fact admitted she was “confused” by the federal laws.

In June she told the Senate she would not work to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ students.

And now, DeVos has a new target: Black and Native American students.

The Education Secretary has been mulling over an Obama-era rule that is scheduled to go into effect next year, designed to ensure minority students are not place in special education classes at a disproportional rate to other students. Historically, Black and Native American students have been put into special education classes at much higher rates, and the Obama administration rule is designed to address that.

The rule is also designed to ensure that schools are funding special education classes appropriately.

The Obama Dept. of Education in 2016, as Politico reports Thursday, “noted that minority students — ‘particularly African-American and American Indian youth — are identified as students with disabilities at substantially higher rates than their peers.’ Minority students with disabilities are more likely than white students to be disciplined and pushed out of regular classrooms, the agency stressed. The rule sought to ensure that states are using a uniform approach to ensure minority students aren’t overrepresented in special education. It was supposed to take effect in July 2018.”

DeVos, according to Politico, is debating whether to delay the rule, change it, or scrap it, as Politico’s Caitlin Emma first reported Wednesday afternoon:

Some responses by Democrats to the news:

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Watch: Trump Stunned When Asked if He Regrets ‘All the Lying You’ve Done to the American People?’ at ‘News’ Conference

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President Donald Trump was asked an unusual question during his supposed “news” briefing Thursday evening.

“After three and a half years, do you regret at all, all the lying that you’ve done to the American people?” HuffPost White House correspondent S.V. Dáte asked. The briefing was carried live on Fox News, but not on MSNBC or CNN.

“All the what?” a startled President Trump asked.

“All the lying, all the dishonesties,” Dáte repeated.

“And who is that?” Trump, still stunned, asked.

“You have done,” Dáte repeated again.

“Ah… Go ahead, please,” Trump said, pointing to another reporter, refusing to answer the original question.

Watch:

Minutes earlier, Dáte posted these important tweets:

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Trump Calls for ‘A Certain Freedom’ to Wear Masks or Not – and Lies That Biden’s Coronavirus Policies Are ‘Anti-Scientific’

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President Donald Trump tried to contrast his response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to the deaths of nearly 170,000 Americans, against former Vice President Joe Biden, who has called for strong measures far earlier than Trump ever did.

On Thursday Biden called on the nation’s governors to issue across the board mask mandates. Trump, in a campaign speech delivered under the false pretense of a coronavirus news conference, attacked his Democratic rival, and falsely claimed Biden had called for a national mask mandate instituted by presidential decree.

Trump, who misuses the power of his office regularly, claimed he did not think a President has the power to mandate mask wearing (he or she does.)

“Every governor should mandate mandatory mask wearing. The estimates by the experts are that it will save over 40,000 lives in the next three months. Forty thousand lives, if people act responsibly,” former Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday, referring to scientific studies. “It’s not about your rights. It’s about your responsibilities as an American.”

Trump offered a different take on mask-wearing, saying “maybe they’re great and maybe they’re good and maybe they’re not so good, but frankly, what do you have to lose?” and adding, “we want to have a certain freedom,” to wear or not masks, “that’s what we’re about.”

Watch:

 

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Trump’s Postmaster General Removing Hundreds of Mail Sorting Machines – Before the Biggest Vote By Mail Election Ever: Report

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President Donald Trump’s Postmaster General is quietly removing mail sorting machines and has scheduled the removal of  hundreds more from USPS facilities across the country. The action, which is both unprecedented and unexplained, comes barely months before the 2020 November election, which begins in weeks when early voting starts in some states.

“In many cases, these are the same machines that would be tasked with sorting ballots, calling into question promises made by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy that the USPS has ‘ample capacity’ to handle the predicted surge in mail-in ballots,” VICE’s Motherboard reports. “Motherboard identified 19 mail sorting machines from five processing facilities across the U.S. that either have already been removed or are scheduled to be in the near future.”

That may not seem like a lot, and as Motherboard notes, “the Postal Service operates hundreds of distribution facilities around the country.”

But The Guardian’s voting rights reporter Sam Levine has posted what he reports is a letter and attached spreadsheets detailing where literally hundreds of USPS machines are slated to be removed, from where, and when.

NCRM examined the spreadsheets, which refer to the removal of a total of 671 mail sorting machines with names like Automated Flat Sorting Machine (AFSMs), and Delivery Bar Code Sorters (DBCSs).

These are used to sort mostly letter-sized, flat mail pieces – the exact kind that, say, voting ballots would be sent in.

The letter, which was sent to the President of the American Postal Workers Union, cites only the “reduction in letter and flat mail volume,” but does not say why the machines are being removed now. The schedule calls for all 671 machines to be removed by September 30, which in some states is when or just after early voting begins.

 

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