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Betsy DeVos Is Considering Rescinding Guidance That Protects Racial Minority Students – Again



Just as she has with transgender students and disabled students, Betsy DeVos is targeting racial minority students – again.

The Education Secretary held two separate listening sessions with the goal of rolling back Obama-era guidance designed to protect racial minority children from being disciplined at higher rates than non-minority children. The guidance was created in 2014 to help stop Black and other minority students from being suspended at high rates, and to break the school-to-prison pipeline.

DeVos chose Wednesday, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to hold the meetings.

The first session included participants interested in keeping the guidance protections. Among them, the Dept. of Education announced, were the National Education Association, the Association of American University Women, the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Several teachers and administrators were also included, but No students were, and some organizations were effectively barred from participating.

“Groups like the National Women’s Law Center sent DeVos a letter slamming what they called ‘the exclusive and non-transparent approach’ of the summit,” HuffPost reports. “The letter was co-signed by groups like the Human Rights Campaign and the National Center for Transgender Equality. It expressed the groups’ support for the guidance.”

Senior policy analyst and director of education policy for the Leadership Conference, Liz King, “described the morning meeting as ‘frustrating and underwhelming.’ King spoke directly to Education Department officials about how this administration’s actions are having a negative impact on school climate, especially for LGBTQ and immigrant students. She urged DeVos to maintain the existing guidance,” HuffPost reported.

The second group, which wants the guidance protecting racial minority students rescinded, included a right wing think tank, the Manhattan Institute, which for decades has advocated for charter schools and privatization of government programs.

Other participants included lesser-known educational groups, several teachers and former teachers, and one student.

Many groups were not represented at all.

“King said it was ‘was glaringly apparent there was no one from the disability community, the LGBTQ community, the Native American community, the Latino community, or the immigrant community in the room.'”

DeVos has previously attacked minority students.

One of her first acts was to rescind guidance from the Obama administration detailing how schools could and should protect the civil rights of transgender students. She then rescinded 72 documents designed to help explain to administrators how to protect the civil rights of disabled students. And in October she began work to rescind guidance designed to ensure minority students are not placed in special education classes at a disproportional rate to other students, and that schools are funding special education classes appropriately.

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license


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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Has Completed More Cancer Treatment



Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent outpatient pancreatic cancer radiation therapy and has been declared cancer-free, according MSNBC’s Pete Williams and a statement from the Supreme Court.

“The tumor was treated definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body,” the SCOTUS statement says. “No further treatment is needed at this time.”

The three-week treatment was completed at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Ginsburg, who is 86 and keeps an active schedule, has maintained she will continue to serve as long as she feel capable.

Here’s MSNBC’s report:


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Internet Responds to Death of Billionaire Conservative Activist David Koch by Reminding Everyone What He Stood For



Billionaire conservative political activist David Koch has just died. He was 79. With his brother he founded and ran the massive Koch Industries. He was worth an estimated $48 billion.

Koch will be lauded by some as a philanthropist – his name appears on buildings like New York City’s Lincoln Center, and he donated to hospitals, museums, and universities. But many Americans will remember him as one of the major players behind the Tea Party, and using his vast wealth to help massively reconstruct American politics into, some say, the vitriolic insanity we see today.

Jane Mayer, who literally wrote the book on “Dark Money” in politics, including the impact of the Koch brothers, last year penned another deep dive into their history.

She wrote at The New Yorker that in 1980 “Charles convinced his younger brother David to run for Vice-President on the Libertarian Party ticket. The brothers regarded Ronald Reagan, who was running for President that year, as too liberal. The Libertarian platform called for abolishing all federal income taxes and virtually every federal agency, including the I.R.S., the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the F.E.C., the E.P.A., the F.D.A., and the S.E.C. The party also opposed Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, public education, and minimum-wage and child-labor laws. Charles and David, former members of the John Birch Society, which their father, Fred, helped found, regarded centralized government as a scourge akin to Communism. At the time, however, such views were considered kooky even by most conservatives. The conservative stalwart William F. Buckley, Jr., called the Kochs’ views “Anarcho-Totalitarianism.” The voters’ verdict was equally harsh. David spent two million dollars of his own money on his candidacy in 1980, but he was trounced. The Libertarian Party earned only one per cent of the vote.”

On social media some are sharing their remembrances of David Koch, and what he stood for.

Here’s CNN’s Keith Boykin:

Salon’s Amanda Marcotte:



Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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Trump’s Claims About His Performance on Jobs Just Got Destroyed by One of His Own Federal Agencies



Job Growth Was Much Weaker Than First Reported – and Much Weaker Than Trump Brags About

President Donald Trump’s approval rating is consistently dismal, but the one area that always pulls his low numbers up is how voters think he’s handling the economy and unemployment. Trump talks all the time about how great the economy is – like taking credit when the DOW jumps up or when unemployment drops down, but never taking blame when the reverse occurs.

For example, here’s President Trump talking about the economy and low unemployment numbers – to children and their families – at a White House Easter egg roll:

Trump’s claims about jobs just got slammed, and the wrecking ball comes from one of his own federal agencies: the Dept. of Labor.

Every year the DOL goes back and reviews the numbers it puts out, dives deeper by comparing them to state unemployment insurance reports, and issues a report measuring what unemployment and job growth really was.

And for 2018, the numbers are much different than what the initial reports showed.

“Employers added a half-million fewer jobs in 2018 and early 2019 than previously reported,” according to the Labor Department, The New York Times reports, calling the revision downward “the largest in recent years.”

In other words, the DOL initially reported an additional 500,000 jobs that were never created.

Here’s what that looks like:

A contributing editor at Digital Trends says it’s a 21% drop in job growth numbers from what the Trump administration often claims:

And this senior economist offers up what the revision to the jobs numbers might look like if spread out over just a few months.

“2018, which had ranked among the strongest years of job growth in the decade-long recovery, was weaker than previously believed,” the Times also reports.





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