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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Just weeks into her tenure as Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos infamously rescinded guidance from the Obama administration detailing how schools could and should protect the civil rights of transgender students.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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'BAD JUDGMENT'

Mike Pence Quietly Took a Huge Christmas Ski Vacation as Coronavirus Cases Soared – Costing Taxpayers Over $750,000

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More details continue to emerge about the Trump-Pence administration.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said new documents show then-VP Mike Pence showed “bad judgment” during the coronavirus pandemic.

“While coronavirus cases surged to record levels late last December, Vice President Mike Pence went on a ski vacation in Vail, Colorado. The trip came with a massive bill to taxpayers, with Secret Service protection alone costing $757,527.85, according to documents obtained by CREW. At the time of his holiday travel, Pence was the head of the White House coronavirus task force, which put out dire warnings after Thanksgiving as the CDC recommended that Americans stay home over the holidays in order to limit the spread of the virus. Clearly, Pence did not follow the government’s advice, and in the process put dozens of Secret Service agents at heightened risk of infection,” the group said on Thursday.

“Pence’s trip extended from December 23rd to January 1st, and reportedly included a Secret Service entourage of at least 48 agents, contributing to both the high cost and the risk of infection.The agents stayed at several different hotels in the Vail area and rented 77 cars for the trip. The charges included more than $270,000 at the Marriott Vail Mountain and more than $80,000 at the Ritz Carlton,” the group reported.

“This also is not the first time Mike Pence stuck taxpayers with huge bills for his travel. Back in 2019, he traveled to Ireland for government business in Dublin, but stayed overnight at Donald Trump’s resort on the other side of the country in Doonbeg. Travel costs for that were more than half a million dollars, and also resulted in the Secret Service spending more than $15,000 at Trump’s resort,” the group noted. “While Pence’s December trip to Vail was less nakedly corrupt than his trip to Doonbeg, it showed another kind of bad judgment, by putting many government workers tasked with keeping him safe at risk in the midst of a raging pandemic. We would hope that the head of the coronavirus task force would know better.”

Image: Official White House photo by Myles D. Cullen via Flickr

 

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'GAY GAY GAY. WOW.'

Andrew Yang Tried to Get an LGBTQ Group’s Endorsement So He Talked About Wanting to Visit a Lesbian Bar: NYT

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Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who was a surprising breakout success but suffered criticisms about “tone,” and continues to, is running to become New York City’s next mayor. He’s currently the frontrunner in the very early race but once again, as The New York Times reports, his inability to build support among minority groups is hurting him.

Yang spoke to the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, a top LGBTQ organization, on Wednesday.

“It did not go particularly well,” the Times reports.

Yang’s approach and the way he treated LGBTQ people was seen as “outdated,” according to Stonewall’s president, Rose Christ.

“Yang cited gay members of his staff as apparent evidence of his openness to the club’s concerns, and expressed enthusiasm about the prospect of visiting Cubbyhole, a storied New York lesbian bar, participants said,” the Times reveals.

“He proactively talked about resurrecting the city’s Pride March, but failed to pay sufficient heed to more substantive issues they were actually concerned about, including homelessness and affordable housing, they said.”

“When I see a candidate come in just with Michael Scott levels of cringe and insensitivity, it either tells me Andrew Yang is in over his head or is not listening to his staff,” said Alejandra Caraballo, a member of the organization, referring to the character played by Steve Carell on “The Office.” “Those are both radioactive flashing signs that say he is not prepared to be mayor of New York.”

Yang also repeatedly referred to LGBTQ people as a “community,” telling members of the Stonewall Democratic Club how much he cares about “your community.”

“I genuinely do love you and your community,” Yang told members. “You’re so human and beautiful. You make New York City special. I have no idea how we ever lose to the Republicans given that you all are frankly in, like, leadership roles all over the Democratic Party.”

Filmmaker and Stonewall member Harris Doran said Yang “kept calling us ‘Your community,’ like we were aliens.”

“We have, like, this incredible secret weapon,” Yang also said. “It’s not even secret. It’s like, we should win everything because we have you all.”

“Gay, gay, gay. Wow,” one person wrote in the chat accompanying the forum, which was later shared with The New York Times. “More to us than just that.”

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Trump Loving Lawmaker Schooled for Claim Founders Oppose DC Statehood: They ‘Never Intended’ for GOP to ‘Commit Sedition’ Either

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Just before the U.S. House of Representatives voted 216-208 on Thursday to make Washington, D.C. a state, Ohio Republican state representative Mike Loychik posted a tweet insisting the “founders never intended for Washington DC to become a state.”

He’s not wrong, technically, but – as many corrected him – given that the founders never intended for many things, including for women and Black people to be allowed to vote, for people who did not own property to vote, and, as some noted, for Republicans to “commit sedition,” what difference does it make?

The founders also did not originally intend for Washington, D.C. to be the seat of government. First it was New York City, then Philadelphia.

Rep. Loychik, who just filed a bill to make Ohio taxpayers spend $300,000 to rename Mosquito Lake State Park in Donald Trump’s honor, did not respond to any of the people educating him, but hours later he posted a tweet attacking Democrats:

Loychik is clearly ignoring the fact that “the Republican Party has historically taken far more effective advantage of the addition of new states,” as The Atlantic reported in 2019.

In 1889 and 1890, Congress added North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming—the largest admission of states since the original 13. This addition of 12 new senators and 18 new electors to the Electoral College was a deliberate strategy of late-19th-century Republicans to stay in power after their swing toward Big Business cost them a popular majority. The strategy paid dividends deep into the future; indeed, the admission of so many rural states back then helps to explain GOP control of the Senate today, 130 years later.

Washington, D.C. could become the 51st state, if Democrats in the Senate can convince six of their Democratic colleagues currently opposed to the measure, and another ten Senate Republicans to support it, or kill the filibuster, which would allow passage with 50 Senate votes plus Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.

Here’s how some are schooling the Ohio Republican lawmaker:

 

Image: screenshot via Facebook

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