Dem Jeff Merkley Slams Trump Education Secretary Over Religious and LGBTQ Discrimination

  • Dem Jeff Merkley Slams Trump Education Secretary Over Religious and LGBTQ Discrimination

Dem Jeff Merkley Slams Trump Education Secretary Over Religious and LGBTQ Discrimination

At issue: whether discrimination on the basis of a person's LGBTQ identity or religion will be allowed at federally funded private and charter schools.

DeVos acknowledged that the proposed cuts might seem drastic but expressed her contention that there often is a disparity between fiscal allocation and student performance. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) asked DeVos about how the cuts would affect New Hampshire. Merkley, DeVos broke briefly from her line about federal law to assure lawmakers that "discrimination in any form is wrong". Patty Murray, D-Wash., "Let me be clear: Schools that receive federal funds must follow federal law".

DEVOS: If a school is accepting federal funds, they are going to follow federal law.

Merkley, however, wasn't satisfied. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), DeVos wouldn't definitively say whether private schools receiving federal funds would be punished for religious discrimination or discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students.

The Secretary of Education did have allies on the Subcommittee, and the Chairman, Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) praised DeVos for what she was saying. Students like him are why I am so passionate about reforming education.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos faced some intense questioning on Capitol Hill on Tuesday about President Donald Trump's goal of cutting $9 billion from the department. Merkley asked about the secretary's interpretation of "foggy" federal antidiscrimination laws, which might not sufficiently protect students from LGBTQ discrimination. DeVos also has a history of supporting conversion therapy.

Her first appearance before Congress came in January for her confirmation hearing, where senators questioned her finances, policy goals and her fitness to serve as Education Secretary.

The U.S. Education Department has left thousands of student-loan borrowers who were defrauded by Corinthian Colleges Inc in limbo by prolonging a process created by the Obama administration that was supposed to speedily cancel their debts, according to 20 state attorneys general and regulators.

That, of course, is ludicrous - if states are allowed to decide individually whether publicly funded schools can deny entry to LGBTQ students, we end up with a patchwork of different rules that could require families of LGBTQ students to move to different states in order to guarantee their children an education.

"We made some tough choices and tough decisions around this", she said.

In a Wednesday letter to DeVos, the Democrats point to a statement last Thursday in which she praised Trump's decision as an "example of his commitment to rolling back the unrealistic and overreaching regulatory actions by the previous administration". Many Republicans on the panel applauded the budget's proposal to boost such "school choice" programs. He agreed with her that it is not her job to interpret the federal law. Devos said the administration would try to ensure the flexibility offered by the extended program would remain after its recent reinstatement.

"Schools that receive federal funds must follow federal law", DeVos responded, seemingly tossing out a rote response.

NEW YORK-Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman joined a coalition of states demanding that the U.S. Department of Education stop delaying its program to cancel federal student loans for thousands of students in NY victimized by predatory for-profit colleges.

DeVos replied that the "Office of Civil Rights and our Title IX (anti-discrimination) protections are broadly applicable across the board".