Democrats allege Tudor Dixon failed to disclose DeVos-hosted fundraiser
Their evidence comes from an email sent by Dixon’s campaign to supporters June 12. “The DeVos family hosted a ‘friendraiser’ for Tudor this week and about 175 people turned out,” the campaign wrote in the email. Dixon’s campaign has a simple explanation: they never needed to report the event because it wasn’t a fundraiser at all. Weeks before the “friendraiser,” Dixon was hosted by Craig and Emilie Wierda for a fundraiser. Dixon will be the subject of another DeVos family fundraiser on Sept. 12, this time with Rick and Melissa DeVos in Grand Rapids.mlive.com
Betsy DeVos calls Biden's student-loan forgiveness '100% illegal' after she concluded Trump did not have the authority to cancel debt broadly when he was in office
Biden's Education Department rescinded Trump's memo stating there's no authority for broad-student-loan forgiveness prior to announcing relief.news.yahoo.com
Betsy DeVos says 2019 Biden encounter would fit admin’s proposed Title IX sexual harassment definition
Former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos says President Joe Biden pressed “his forehead on my forehead” during a 2019 encounter which she claims, under the Biden administration’s proposed Title IX rules, would constitute as sexual harassment. “If he had done that as a student on a college campus, under his proposed rule, I would have a Title IX sexual harassment allegation to levy against him because of his conduct,” DeVos said. The U.S. Department of Education has been open in saying it wants to return Title IX regulations back to what they were prior to DeVos leading the agency during the Trump administration. More from MLiveExperience, history: How Tudor Dixon’s pick for lieutenant governor could make or break her campaignProsecutor rests in Gov. Whitmer kidnap case after undercover FBI agent recalls secret trip to her houseThe GOP splintered in 2 Michigan counties.mlive.com
Tudor Dixon Wins Michigan GOP Governor Primary, Will Face Gretchen Whitmer
Businesswoman and conservative commentator Tudor Dixon won the Republican primary for Michigan governor on Tuesday, setting up a tough race against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as anger and division within the state GOP threaten the...detroit.cbslocal.com
Takeaways: Abortion backlash in Kansas, Greitens' collapse
In one of the biggest days of this year's primary campaign season, red-state Kansas rejected a measure that would have made it easier to restrict abortion, and voters in Missouri repudiated a scandal-tarred former governor seeking a Senate seat.
Jan. 6 panel deepens probe to Trump Cabinet, awaits Thomas
The House Jan. 6 committee plans to interview more former Cabinet secretaries and is prepared to subpoena conservative activist Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, who’s married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, as part of its investigation of the Capitol riot and Donald Trump’s role.
Election looming, knives come out for Tudor Dixon in debate
In the otherwise staid debate that covered little new ground on policy issues, sparks flew on a question about bipartisanship. Even though 38% remain undecided in that poll, Dixon was the clear target among the candidates on stage. Dixon recently unveiled a bill that would ban drag queens in schools alongside legislators. She responded to Soldano by alleging he had tried and failed to get the DeVos family endorsement, which he denied. After the debate, Rinke asserted he’s shaken Michigan’s political power brokers.mlive.com
U.S. to erase student loan debt for 200,000 students from 153 schools
If approved, the settlement will cancel $6 billion in federal loans for roughly 200,000 people who attended schools that were deemed to have defrauded students or otherwise flouted certain state laws. Students who can show their schools misled them or otherwise engaged in misconduct or violated certain state laws may be eligible for what is called a borrower defense loan repayment. The repayments were essentially halted under former President Donald Trump when then-Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos attempted to block them. About 200,000 people who attended one of listed schools are receiving automatic relief — a full erasure of their loans, refund of what they paid and credit repair. All of the students’ loans will remain in forbearance with zero interest until they get settlement relief or a denial of cancellation that they are allowed to appeal.mlive.com
Devos-backed private school tax credit petition won’t submit signatures to get on November ballot
But even though the petition got the required 340,047 signatures, leaders have decided not to submit them for verification. “(T)he initiative has secured the petition signatures required by law but will continue collecting signatures for its Legislative Initiative proposals to ensure the support of hundreds of thousands of Michiganians isn’t overturned by well-funded opponents,” per the Wednesday announcement. The two proposals in the Let MI Kids Learn effort would allow taxpayers to claim credits for contributions for private K-12 school students. These “scholarships” would give up to $500 for public school students and $1,100 for students with disabilities. For non-public school students, they would be up to 90% of the annual public school per-pupil funding amount: currently $8,700.mlive.com
Public school advocates launch effort to stop DeVos-backed school scholarship proposal
LANSING, MI — A new ballot committee For MI Kids For Our Schools declared during its virtual launch Wednesday that all options are on the table to stop the Betsy DeVos-backed Let MI Kids Learn ballot initiative that public school advocates say would create an unconstitutional voucher system in Michigan. Let MI Kids Learn set a $500 million maximum in tax credits able to be claimed and a 20% increase every year for the next five years. The two Let MI Kids Learn petitions mirror Republican legislation that was vetoed by Gov. The committee has reported receiving just under $450 in in-kind contributions from donations by the Michigan Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers Michigan. DeVos and members of her family contributed $400,000 to the Let MI Kids Learn ballot committee in December, campaign finance reports show.mlive.com
Betsy DeVos says ballot initiative would let parents ‘take control’ of Michigan education
LANSING, MI — Former U.S. Secretary of Education and Michigan native Betsy DeVos joined school choice advocates Wednesday morning to support a ballot petition that would create an education scholarship program opponents say violates the state Constitution. DeVos and members of her family contributed $400,000 to the ballot committee in December, campaign finance reports show. “This is a chance for parents to take control of education in Michigan,” DeVos said during the virtual event. Public school students eligible based on income could get up to $500, while students with disabilities could receive up to $1,100. Saginaw’s Jimmy Greene, president of ABC of Michigan, said that resources plays the largest factor in where parents send their kids to school.mlive.com
Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Supports Michigan School Choice Ballot Drive
Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday backed a Michigan ballot drive to let students attend private schools and pay other educational expenses with accounts funded by tax-free corporate and individual donations.detroit.cbslocal.com
‘Why Did They Protect Betsy DeVos?’: Federal Marshals Deny Request for Security Detail to First Black U.S. Attorney In Massachusetts Despite Direct Death Threats
The U.S. Marshals Service won’t provide a full-time security detail to the first Black U.S. attorney confirmed to that post in Massachusetts, leaving her without […]news.yahoo.com
Elizabeth Holmes' jury unsuccessfully tries to study at home
The high-profile trial of former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes boils down to a single question: Did she cover up defects in her startup’s blood-testing technology to rip off investors while potentially endangering the lives of unwitting patients.
Elizabeth Holmes Totally Fooled Betsy DeVos and Pumped Her Family For Millions, Says Witness
Alex Wong/Getty ImagesThe family of former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos invested nearly $100 million in Theranos after a marathon meeting with the biotech startup’s founder Elizabeth Holmes, a director of the billionaire’s family office testified on Tuesday.Lisa Peterson, who manages private equity investments for the DeVos clan’s RDV Corporation, told jurors at Holmes’ California wire fraud trial that she and members of the Michigan-based dynasty flew to Silicon Valley in 2014 to meet Holmesnews.yahoo.com
Republican movement not dependent on ‘any one person,’ says Betsy DeVos, without naming Trump
MACKINAC ISLAND, MI -- Without naming former President Donald Trump, his former education secretary and longtime Republican figure Betsy DeVos expressed concern about the Republican party relying too heavily on personalities in a speech at the Michigan Republican Leadership Conference. Politics now are so often about the people, not the policies that impact the policies that impact people’s lives directly. Instead, it’s rooted in our foundational, constitutional principles and their promise to every person in this great land,” DeVos said. DeVos served as Trump’s education secretary from 2017 through Jan. 8, 2021. More on MLive:Betsy DeVos resigns from Trump Cabinet, citing attack on CapitolSouth Dakota Gov.mlive.com
Census data disputed, a questionable contract, Devos not vying for governor: The week in Michigan politics
LANSING, MI — New U.S. census data revealed this week will have major effects on political power throughout the state as Michigan’s political maps are set to be redrawn. Michigan’s redistricting commission is expected to use the latest census data to begin its drafts of Michigan’s new political maps next week. Nicole Hester/ MLive.comMichigan’s independent redistricting commission is expected to begin drawing political district maps using the latest U.S. Census data next week. Census data shows increase in diversity, Michigan’s fastest-growing countiesNew data from the U.S. Census Bureau show Michigan’s population is experiencing significant changes. Related: Ottawa, Grand Traverse and Kent counties fuel West Michigan population surgeKent County trailed in as the third-fastest growing county, increasing by 9.3%.mlive.com
Report: Betsy DeVos isn’t running for governor
“I am not running for governor,” the paper quotes her as saying. The Associated Press reported Betsy DeVos advisers said she had never weighed a run. The speculation came as the Republican gubernatorial field continues to grow, but lacks a candidate with statewide political experience. The biggest name to have filed a candidate committee in the Republican gubernatorial primary is James Craig, the former Detroit Police Chief. Related: So is James Craig running for governor?mlive.com
GOP’s DeVos says she will not seek Michigan governorship
Former U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says she will not run for Michigan governor in 2022, putting an end to speculation about the onetime Trump administration Cabinet member and partner in one of the state’s most influential Republican couples.
Betsy DeVos Says She Will Not Run For Michigan Governor
Former U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Tuesday she will not run for Michigan governor in 2022, putting an end to speculation about the onetime Trump administration Cabinet member and partner in one of the state's most influential...detroit.cbslocal.com
Olivia Munn has been 'obsessed with hanging out with' John Mulaney for years
"My girlfriend" just doesn't have the same ring to it, but comedian John Mulaney is reportedly dating actress Olivia Munn — news that broke shortly after Page Six revealed he's divorcing his wife of six years, Anna Marie Tendler. Munn and Mulaney supposedly met at church, though Munn has admitted she's had her eye on Mulaney for years. In a 2015 HuffPost Live interview resurfaced by Page Six on Friday, she revealed "we were at a wedding together and I was like 'Oh my gosh, do you and your fiancé want to go have dinner or something and go hang out?'" She added that "I was just so obsessed with hanging out with and talking with him," but afterwards, when Munn emailed Mulaney, he never wrote her back. "I might've got the wrong email — probably. That's what I tell myself," she joked. More stories from theweek.comRepublicans' dishonest war against 'critical race theory'There's growing speculation that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will name their daughter 'Philippa'The Republican theory of unemployment is classic Marxnews.yahoo.com
U.S. to erase $1 billion in debt for students scammed by for-profit colleges
Tens of thousands of U.S. student loan borrowers defrauded by for-profit colleges are getting debt relief. The U.S. Department of Education is cancelling $1 billion in debt held by about 72,000 student borrowers misled by institutions including the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute. The stance, which takes effect Thursday, represents an about-face from a process touted by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that offered only partial student loan forgiveness to those defrauded by private, for-profit colleges. The Obama administration had cracked down on for-profit colleges that enticed students to take on hefty loans. The DOE called Thursday's announcement a "first step" in addressing student debt claims and said it would be "pursuing additional actions, including re-regulation, in the future."cbsnews.com
Students who got partial loan relief to see full discharge
WASHINGTON – Thousands of students defrauded by for-profit schools will have their federal loans fully erased, the Biden administration announced Thursday, reversing a Trump administration policy that had given them only partial relief. The change could lead to $1 billion in loans being canceled for 72,000 borrowers, all of whom attended for-profit schools, the Education Department said. The borrower defense to repayment program allows students to have their federal loans canceled if they were defrauded by their schools. The Education Department said a total of 343,331 applications for relief under borrower defense had been received as of Feb. 28. Sen. Patty Murray, who heads the Senate committee overseeing education, said DeVos used “faulty math” to deny student full relief.
They sent early SOS signals about COVID and schools. Here’s what life looks like for them, one year in.
The impressive work she’s seen teachers do. During the day, the Portland paraeducator would work with students with disabilities or students who needed extra academic help. She’s been impressed by the way the schools created delivery systems for school supplies, hotspots, library books, and free meals. She’s run the school district for the last eight, and she’s also the president of the superintendents association in her state. “There was a level of crisis that I’ve not seen before.”In Washington, many small school districts are in rural areas without internet providers.chalkbeat.org
Biden order could change how colleges handle sex misconduct
Biden also signed a second executive order formally establishing the White House Gender Policy Council, which his transition team had announced before he took office. Any effort to rewrite DeVos’ rules would have to go through a federal rulemaking process that can take years to complete. AdRepublicans slammed Biden’s move and defended DeVos’ rules. The scope of cases that colleges must address is also likely to be expanded again under the Biden administration, he said. Biden is starting the process even as DeVos' policy faces ongoing legal challenges.
Senate confirms Cardona as Biden's education secretary
FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2021, file photo, Education Secretary nominee Miguel Cardona testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Senate has confirmed him as Education Secretary on March 1. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool, File)The Senate voted Monday to confirm Miguel Cardona as education secretary, clearing his way to lead President Joe Biden’s effort to reopen the nation’s schools amid the coronavirus pandemic. AdCardona, who gained attention for his efforts to reopen schools in Connecticut, has vowed to make it his top priority to reopen schools. In an increasingly fractionalized world of education, Cardona has vowed to be a unifier.
Once the mainstream model, Michigan GOP embraces right wing
While the state has swung back to Democrats since Trump's narrow 2016 win, choosing President Joe Biden by more than 150,000 votes, Michigan's Republican Party has taken a hard right turn. Ad“All these things were a catalyst,” said Ken Sikkema, a former Michigan GOP Senate leader whose Grand Rapids district lost 5,000 jobs with three plant closures just before the 2008 crash. “Forces of nature take over at that point, and those forces were definitely tilting right, extreme far-right," said Venable, who was state Republican Party chief of staff in 2010. AdNodding to the emerging right wing, Michigan GOP fundraiser Ron Weiser invited Maddock to share the ticket for his bid to become state party chair. All the while, Michigan's GOP leadership has for the first time in memory bestowed legitimacy on its state's militia, long relegated to the shadows.
CDC: Strong evidence in-person schooling can be done safely
Officials said there is strong evidence now that schools can reopen, especially at lower grade levels. Most still have outdated ventilation systems, she said, and few have the type of virus testing programs suggested by the CDC. CDC officials emphasized that in-person learning has not been identified as a substantial driver of coronavirus spread in U.S. communities, and that transmission among students is now considered relatively rare. Government officials estimate that about 60% of K-12 schools right now have some form of in-person learning going on, though in many cases it may be part-time. AdSchools also can tighten up restrictions for the in-person learning that is going on.
Trial highlights: 'We were invited' and a quick defense
They bolstered their case with accounts from the rioters themselves, some of whom said they were acting on Trump's orders. The former president's defense team insists Trump's speech near the White House was protected under the First Amendment. And they argue he shouldn't be on trial in the Senate because he is no longer in office — an argument Democrats reject. To underscore their point, Democrats showed videos using rioters own words. Trump senior adviser Jason Miller said he expects the defense will wrap up in less than a day.
Education nominee pledges new guidance, more virus testing
Education Secretary nominee Miguel Cardona testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. On school choice, Cardona said it’s important that families have education options, but that a quality public school must be one of them. Public schools are “the bedrock of our country,” he said, adding that most students attend public schools. AdHis deep roots in public education helped him stand out as a contender to lead the Education Department. During his presidential campaign, Biden had promised to nominate someone with experience in public education.
Michigan asks to waive standardized testing for 2020-2021 school year
LANSING, Mich. – Michigan requested on Monday that standardized testing be waived for the 2020-2021 school year, after a school year marked with instruction inconsistency and difficulty due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last March, as virus cases grew and schools moved online, then-U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos allowed Michigan to waive standardized testing for the 2019-2020 school year. Near the end of her tenure, as waivers were being requested again, she told chief state school officers in a letter that standardized testing is expected for the 2020-2021 school year. The Michigan Education Association, which represents about 120,000 teachers and other education professionals, supports waiving standardized testing. “Amidst this pandemic, we simply cannot waste valuable learning time on high-stakes standardized testing," Herbart said.
School choice lawsuit surge pushes possible high court fight
If the lawsuit succeeds, officials at the nonprofit say they will file legal challenges in other states with similar school choice programs. A similar lawsuit challenging Maine’s exclusion of religious schools from a high school tuition voucher program was denied by the 1st U.S. Maine and New Hampshire have similar programs for students who live in communities without schools to attend public or non-religious private schools of their choice. The school treats him “as a welcomed member of the school community rather than as an imposition,” the lawsuit said. But he is now in 9th grade and the district has a high school so tuition money is not provided to attend another school.
Dems' momentum builds to impeach Trump, Pelosi hits rioters
Pelosi, addressing her hometown San Francisco constituents during an online video conference, shed no fresh light on Democrats' plans. Trump has not publicly made such threats, but officials warn of grave danger if the president is left unchecked. A person on the call said Pelosi also discussed other ways Trump might be forced to resign. ”Democratic leaders have called on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to force Trump from office. The House impeached Trump in 2019, but the Republican-led Senate acquitted him in early 2020.
Morning Briefing Jan. 8, 2021: Top federal prosecutor in Michigan seeks tips on Capitol mob, Trump finally concedes, DeVos resigns
FILE - In this June 14, 2018, file photo, the FBI seal is seen before a news conference at FBI headquarters in Washington. U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, whose jurisdiction covers a 34-county area including metropolitan Detroit, said investigators will review video footage and other evidence. “A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20,” Trump said in the video. In a resignation letter Thursday, DeVos blamed President Donald Trump for inflaming tensions in the violent assault on the seat of the nation’s democracy. The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 512,751 as of Thursday, including 13,094 deaths, state officials report.
DeVos resigns after pro-Trump riot: ‘There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation’
FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2020, file photo, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks at the Phoenix International Academy in Phoenix. In a resignation letter Thursday, DeVos blamed President Donald Trump for inflaming tensions in the violent assault on the seat of the nation’s democracy. She says, “There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me.”Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao tendered her resignation earlier Thursday. News of DeVos’ resignation was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Related: Trump’s Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao resigns after Capitol riot
Trump to skip Biden swearing-in — Biden's fine with that
Biden said he was just fine with that, calling it “one of the few things we have ever agreed on." “Donald Trump doesn’t want to be in Washington as the second-fiddle loser standing on stage with Joe Biden,” he said. “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” Trump said in a tweet. White House counsel Pat Cipollone has repeatedly warned Trump that he could be deemed responsible for inciting Wednesday’s violence. On Capitol Hill, Democrats laid plans to impeach Trump a second time, with articles of impeachment expected to be introduced on Monday.
Stay or go? After Trump-fueled riot, aides debate early exit
FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2020, file photo, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks at the Phoenix International Academy in Phoenix. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Thursday became the highest-ranking administration officials to resign over the pro-Trump insurrection. Neither impeachment nor ouster under the 25th Amendment was considered probable with less than two weeks left in Trump's presidency. Yet many White House aides, both senior officials and lower-level staff, were struggling with whether or when to exit, according to two people familiar with internal deliberations at the White House. “They’re all going to have their historic revisionism, they’re all going to have their own imaginary heroism,” Wilson said.
The Latest: Capitol Police says officer dies after riots
The U.S. Capitol Police says an officer who was injured after responding to riots at the Capitol has died. Supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Wednesday as Congress was tallying the Electoral College votes to confirm Democrat Joe Biden won the election. ___7:20 p.m.President Donald Trump is conceding to President-elect Joe Biden and condemning the violent supporters of his who stormed the nation’s Capitol. He was a web developer and founder of Trumparoo, a social media site for supporters of President Donald Trump. ___2:35 p.m.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she’s seeking the resignation of Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund a day after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol.
The Latest: Capitol Police says officer dies after ‘riots’
The U.S. Capitol Police says an officer who was injured after responding to riots at the Capitol has died. ___7:20 p.m.President Donald Trump is conceding to President-elect Joe Biden and condemning the violent supporters of his who stormed the nation’s Capitol. He was a web developer and founder of Trumparoo, a social media site for supporters of President Donald Trump. ___2:35 p.m.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she’s seeking the resignation of Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund a day after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol. ___2:30 p.m.Canadian-based e-commerce company Shopify Inc. has removed online stores affiliated with U.S. President Donald Trump, saying his actions have violated the company’s policies.
In farewell, DeVos urges Congress to reject Biden's policies
In a farewell letter to Congress on Monday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos urged lawmakers to reject President-elect Joe Biden's education agenda, while imploring them to shield Trump administration policies that Biden has promised to eliminate. DeVos offered an unemotional farewell to a Congress that had a chilly relationship with her from the start. More broadly, DeVos urged Congress to direct federal education funding directly to families rather than to schools. The letters says federal education funding has already tripled since 1960 but has failed to translate to better outcomes on standardized tests. In her appeal to Congress, DeVos says her regulation “restores fairness on campuses by upholding all students’ rights."
After pardon, Blackwater guard defiant: ‘I acted correctly’
In this Dec. 31, 2020, file photo pardoned Blackwater contractor Evan Liberty poses for a photo in Washington. The Blackwater contractors meet none of that criteria. They were convicted in the killings of unarmed Iraqi women and children and have long been defiant in their assertions of innocence. “I feel like I acted correctly,” he said of his conduct in 2007. He says he's grateful to his supporters and to Trump for what he calls a “second chance at life."
One Good Thing: Special Olympian spreads message of love
(Gary Schottle via AP)Gary Schottle arrived in time to see the other kids in line hitting and jumping on his young son. Special Olympics changed everything. Special Olympics has since branched out to more than 170 countries, empowering more than 5 million athletes who had often been cast aside. In 20 years of Special Olympics competition, Tank's confidence has soared, his leadership spreading across playing fields, the Houston area and beyond. Once one of the bullied, he has become a living embodiment of the Special Olympics message.
Pardons in killings of Iraqi civilians stir angry response
FILE - This combination made from file photo shows Blackwater guards, from left, Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty, Nicholas Slatten and Paul Slough. “The infamous Blackwater company killed Iraqi citizens at Nisoor Square. The 2007 killings in the Baghdad traffic circle were among many attacks, large and small, hitting civilians that served to turn even some initial Iraqi supporters of Saddam Hussein's overthrow against Americans. The case against the Blackwater guards ping-ponged across courts in Washington, with a federal appeals court at one point overturning the first-degree murder conviction of one defendant, Nicholas Slatten, and sharply reducing the prison sentences of the three others. In Iraq, said Ford, the former diplomat, the pardons will “necessarily give some ammunition to those who say get the Americans out now."
Biden: Cardona right pick to lead education through pandemic
FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2017, photo, flags decorate a space outside the office of the Education Secretary at the Education Department in Washington. President-elect Joe Biden has chosen the education commissioner for Connecticut and a former public school teacher to serve as education secretary. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)President-elect Joe Biden introduced Miguel Cardona as his pick for education secretary on Wednesday, saying Connecticut's education chief and life-long champion of public schools is the right pick to lead the department as the nation struggles to educate students safely during the pandemic. But despite their occasional conflict with him, a coalition of Connecticut education unions supported his candidacy as Biden's education secretary. Beyond the pandemic, Biden's education secretary will also be tasked with reversing an array of policies enacted by DeVos.
Biden picks Connecticut schools chief as education secretary
FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2017, photo, flags decorate a space outside the office of the Education Secretary at the Education Department in Washington. President-elect Joe Biden has chosen the education commissioner for Connecticut and a former public school teacher to serve as education secretary. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Miguel Cardona, Connecticut's education chief and a lifelong champion of public schools, to serve as education secretary. The selection delivers on Biden’s promise to nominate someone with experience working in public education and would fulfill his goal of installing an education chief who stands in sharp contrast to Secretary Betsy DeVos. Despite their occasional conflict with him, a coalition of Connecticut education unions supported his candidacy as Biden's education secretary.
Spending bill to restore federal college grants for inmates
The massive, catchall bill combines $900 billion in COVID-19 aid with a $1.4 trillion spending bill. A 1994 bill blocked prisoners from the program, but momentum has been growing to reverse the decision. For Republicans, the bill secures a longtime goal to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the form that students fill out to determine their eligibility for federal financial aid. It would provide $23 billion to colleges and universities, the first federal virus aid since a virus package Congress approved in March. For K-12 schools, the bill provides $54.3 billion, with an additional $4.1 billion that governors can use on education.
Trump eases rules for religious social service providers
It also removes a rule telling religious groups to give clients written notice about their rights, including that they can’t be forced to participate in religious activities. Trump also vowed to protect prayer in public schools and bolster the rights of religious groups on college campuses. Civil rights group blasted the new changes, saying the previous rules were meant to protect LGBTQ people, religious minorities and others who may face discrimination from religious groups. American Atheists, a civil rights group, said the previous rules were created with support from religious and civil rights groups alike. Religious groups applauded the changes, while civil rights groups said they opened the door for discrimination.
Former teachers union chief vying for education secretary
Lily Eskelsen García, who was president of the National Education Association until September, has been calling members of Congress to build support for her candidacy. The caucus drew attention to Biden's proposals to confront racial disparities in education, saying Eskelsen García has been pursuing that work for decades. Andrade called her a “bona fide, proven educator” with a compelling personal story and a firm commitment to public education. “You will not find a bigger contrast in people than between DeVos and Eskelsen García,” Andrade said. Supporters of Eskelsen García say her nomination would fulfill Biden’s promise to install an education chief with experience working in public education.
DeVos suspends federal student loan payments through January 2021
The Trump administration on Friday suspended all federal student loan payments through the end of January and kept interest rates at 0%, extending a moratorium that started early in the pandemic but was set to expire at the end of this month. By extending payments by one month, the administration is effectively leaving it to the Biden administration or Congress to decide whether to provide longer-term relief to millions of student borrowers. In announcing the extension, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rebuked Congress for failing to act. DeVos won praise for using her authority to pause federal student loan payments in March. A federal lawsuit filed against DeVos in April alleged that thousands of overdue borrowers were still getting pay withheld despite the mortarium.