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Action-A-Day 8/1/2017: Saving Public Education: Minimize the DeVos and WH Devastation!

Neil Sroka, spokesman for Democracy for America, who is based in Detroit, said: “What’s so amazing is that Betsy DeVos and the DeVos family have almost singlehandedly destroyed public schools in the state of Michigan. They’ve gone from some of the best in the country to among the worst in the region. It’s mind-boggling that anyone would put her in charge of education policy.”———- from The Guardian, David Smith, July 26, 2017.

“Voucher proponents say parents, even those using tax dollars to pay tuition, should be able to use whatever criteria for school choice they see fit.  A provacative idea, but if past evidence can predict future outcomes, expanding voucher programs seems unlikely to help U.S. schoolchildren keep pace with a technologically advancing world”. ——— Peg Tyre, Scientific American, August 2017.

CALL TO ACTION:  Minimize the DeVos effects in Maryland and other states’ public schools.  Speak truth to power about the Education Budget cuts and planned policy implementation by her and her Civil Rights Office Undersecretary, Candace Jackson.  Ms Jackson is moving Civil Rights for Americans back more than 60 years.

 

BACKGROUND:

Concerns about Betsy DeVos’ ongoing policy strategies give rise to Constitutional and legislative problems and entanglements.  These include but aren't limited to Separation of Church and State issues, use of taxpayer money for private businesses, personal conflicts of interest arising out of her and her family's student loan businesses, and unaccountability for student academic gains in voucher/choice supported private institutions. These policies are in effect giving rise to the government’s slippery-slope-slide into supporting and institutionalizing religion by funneling taxpayer money to private and mostly Christian religious schools.  This is unconstitutional.

 

 As reported in Scientific American, there has been a noted decline in standardized test scores especially in math and reading, everywhere voucher systems have been instituted.  Data collected for over ten years from voucher programs and certain private Charter Schools, which are not under any academic standardization or supervision, in the District of Columbia, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, have results showing student’s academic progress halting or declining.  

 

Women, children and minority rights are also at risk under the DeVos tenure.  Individual civil rights are categorically not protected under her system.  It also favors males and deepens the divide among women and men along religious and unfounded, unsubstantiated, rigid, and antiquated secular systems.  This not only doesn't protect civil rights, but there is a clear route to eliminating Title Nine protections as well.

 

DeVos appointed Candace Jackson as the acting undersecretary to U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.  As such she does not have to be confirmed by the Senate.  She therefore is acting with impunity eliminating protections through her office.  This will continue until such time as she is replaced with a vetted, Senate approved Secretary.  The issues around Jackson accentuates DeVos’ desire to accomplish whatever she chooses, without the albeit, minimal, oversight of legislative watchers.  Working around senate confirmation by not nominating someone for the position of Secretary, DeVos is purposely skirting the law and the expectations of trust in our institutions to function as designed.

 

Lastly, DeVos and the White House want to cut public education funding by more than $9.2 billion dollars in the 2018 budget.  This dismantling of cherished and time proven institutions for personal reasons, puts Americans at a severe disadvantage.  This is especially true in the advancing world of science and technology.  America is being left behind.  

 

To Do:

  1. Sign on with Democracy for America; Call for the removal of Candace Jackson from the Department Of Education Office of Civil Rights http://act.democracyforamerica.com/sign/stop-devos-civil-rights/?source=website

 

  1. Gain Congressional Support to stop DeVos and Trump from “stealing” $9.2 Billion of Tax Dollars from public education while supporting the private business of non-transparent, unaccountable schools.  Call your Senators and Congress people. We don't want another Trump University: Public money for Private gain.

 

Suggested Script:  senator/congressman:   Public Schools are very important to all Americans.  Please do not cut the education budget.  And Do Not support failing voucher systems.  According to Scientific American’s recent publication, voucher programs are eroding math and reading test scores, leading to declining understanding of basic science.  Furthermore, I don't want my tax dollars subsidizing Betsy DeVos’ financial interests.  And I don't want the United States Federal Government subsidizing and propping up one religion over another and calling that “choice” or “science alternatives”.  Also, The roll back of Title Nine protections is unacceptable.

 

*Senator Van Hollen.       202-224-4654

Senator Cardin.               202-224-4524

Representative Raskin.   202-225-5341

Representative Harris.    202-225-5311

 

Senate Budget Committee Members

https://www.senate.gov/general/committee_membership/committee_memberships_SSBU.htm

 

House Budget Committee Members

https://budget.house.gov/about/members/

 

  1. Write a postcard, email or phone Betsy DeVos.  Ask for a permanent Secretary of the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. Demand that Candace Jackson refrain from applying unfair practices to Title Nine issues. And demand her removal! 

 

Suggested Script: Ms. DeVos, Stop the destruction of Civil Rights and the roll back of Title Nine protections.  Remove Candace Jackson; and nominate a serious, civil rights protector as Secretary of the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education.  Education is important to every American.  Equal access to good, well funded schools is an American necessity.  Do not continue with failing voucher systems, which are proven to be detrimental to our children and country.

 

Betsy DeVos. (202) 401-1576

 

Attn:  Betsy DeVos
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202

 

  • Senator Van Hollen is a member of the Senate Budget Committee; equip him with data from Scientific American to help the cause.  Private Schools and Charter Schools are fine; and in fact good for diversity.  However, using taxpayer money in the form of vouchers, ultimately is another tax incentive for the wealthy.  While the poor and middle classes, continue to be left behind.  

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

 

Scientific American, August 2017, Education Report, ‘A Matter of Choice’, by Peg Tyre

 

From The Guardian 

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/26/betsy-devos-education-secretary-trump

Racist Origins of Voucher Systems in Public Schools

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education/reports/2017/07/12/435629/racist-origins-private-school-vouchers/

 

About Candace Jackson

https://www.propublica.org/article/devos-candice-jackson-civil-rights-office-education-department

 

The House Budget Committee Process

https://budget.house.gov/budgets/

 

A Culture of Rape on College Campuses?

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/12/us/politics/campus-rape-betsy-devos-title-iv-education-trump-candice-jackson.html

 

U.S. Department of Education 

https://www2.ed.gov/about/contacts/gen/index.html

 

 #45 Calls for Deep Cuts to Education Budget

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/05/22/529534031/president-trumps-budget-proposal-calls-for-deep-cuts-to-education

 

Federal Role in Education in America

https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/fedrole.doc

 

NYT, Op-Ed:  Betsy DeVos and the Wrong Way to Fix Schools 

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/25/opinion/betsy-devos-and-the-wrong-way-to-fix-schools.html?_r=1

 

Center for American Progress, The Racist Origins of Private School Vouchers

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education/reports/2017/07/12/435629/racist-origins-private-school-vouchers/