Friday Reading List: Former Department of Education Officials React to the Current Administration

Former United States Secretary of Education John King, Jr. is in U.S. News & World Report slamming the Trump administration's budget:

Yes; we believe in personal responsibility. We understand America's self-concept as the place where all people can lift themselves up by the proverbial bootstraps and improve themselves ... we recognize that you can't pull off an upset if the game is rigged against you and that those of us who were not born into privilege sometimes need a boost from our teammates ... And that's precisely why the Trump administration's recently released 2018 budget is such a deeply problematic assault on the American Dream. It eliminates many of the critical supports that give people the opportunities and tools to better their lives, particularly through a net cut of more than $10 billion to education.

What's so offensive about the Trump budget is that it couples these deep gashes in the social safety net with both increases in military spending, and huge tax cuts for wealthier Americans. One cannot claim with a straight face that this budget about fiscal conservatism; it's about cruelty to those with less.

Matt Lehrich, writing at Education Post, wonders if current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos understands the federal role in civil rights enforcement:

In a budget hearing yesterday, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) pressed DeVos on whether her plan for school choice would allow federal dollars to flow to private schools even if they discriminate against LGBT students. DeVos offered her standard fare in response: those choices would be up to states ... DeVos couldn’t think of one. Here was the United States Secretary of Education saying that if a state wanted to give federal dollars to a private school that only admitted White students, that would be fine by her. Want to reject any student who’s gay or Jewish or has a disability? That’s ok too, she was implying. We’re just here to dole out the cash. Of course, such a scheme would never hold up in court. But it laid bare the moral vacuity of the commonly-professed view that the federal government should just get out of the way and let states figure it out.

Lehrich went there, didn't he? What's impossible to tell is whether DeVos truly doesn't care if schools discriminate, or whether she's oblivious to the fact that some TOTALLY WILL when given the chance. Either way, she's ...

Finally, a bit of shameless self-promotion: for your weekend read, be sure to check out the longer piece I wrote in reaction to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu's speech about the removal of Confederate monuments from his city:


 Have a great weekend!