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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The second group, which wants the guidance protecting racial minority students rescinded, included a right wing think tank, the Manhattan Institute, which for decades has advocated for charter schools and privatization of government programs.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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Seven Florida Republicans File Slew of Anti-LGBTQ Bills



Seven Florida Republican lawmakers have filed four bills attacking the LGBTQ community.

NBC News reports “the bills would ban gender-affirming health care for transgender children, repeal municipal and county ordinances protecting LGBTQ workers, and legalize so-called gay conversion therapy in places that had banned the medically debunked practice.”

Conversion therapy has been compared to torture by those who have been victims of it, and states have been banning the practice given its ties to suicide and attempted suicide.

The lawmakers are Rep. Anthony Sabatini, Sen. Dennis Baxley, Rep. Bob Rommel, Sen. Joe Gruters, Rep. Michael Grant, Sen. Keith Perry, and Rep. Byron Donalds (images above, in order of NBC’s reporting.) (NCRM has added links to their Twitter accounts.)

Orlando Weekly’s Solomon Gustavo reports on House Bill 136, filed by Sabatini and Baxley, “which would make it a second-degree felony for health care practitioners to administer treatment for transitioning or changing a child’s sex.”




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Elizabeth Warren Calls for Investigation Into Legality of Trump Tipping Off Mar-a-Lago Guests to Soleimani’s Killing



Elizabeth Warren is calling for financial regulatory agencies to investigate whether President Trump broke the law when he told guests at his Mar-a-Lago resort to expect something “big” in response to Iran’s killing of an American contractor in Iraq, The Daily Beast reports.

“Individuals who were guests at President Trump’s resort may have obtained confidential market-moving information,” a letter Warren sent to agencies read. “These private individuals … would have had the opportunity to obtain significant profits simply by being guests or members at President Trump’s private resort.”

Read the full report over at The Daily Beast.

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Rupert Murdoch’s Son Rips Fox News for Pushing Falsehoods About Australian Wildfires



Rupert Murdoch’s younger son and his wife launched an attack on News Corporation for promoting conspiracy theories about Australia’s devastating wildfires.

Columnists and broadcasters from News Corp Australia — which dominates the country’s media — have questioned climate change’s role in the fires and downplayed the devastation, and James Murdoch and his wife Kathryn condemned the family business, reported The Daily Beast.

“Kathryn and James’ views on climate are well established and their frustration with some of the News Corp and Fox coverage of the topic is also well known,” said a spokesperson for the couple. “They are particularly disappointed with the ongoing denial among the news outlets in Australia given obvious evidence to the contrary.”

James Murdoch is CEO of the investment firm Lupa Systems but sits on the board of News Corp, which publishes more than 140 newspapers in Australia, and his brother Lachlan runs the Fox News Channel in the U.S.

“They are pissing inside the tent and that’s unusual,” said a longtime News Corp executive. “It’s evidence of how high tensions are within the family over climate change. The majority of people who work here agree with James. We are hoping this may be the tipping point.”

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