Last night, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on Betsy DeVos, the nominee for Secretary of Education. Senators showed up with a lot of questions for DeVos, who has no experience in education policy but instead has a long record of supporting private school vouchers. Despite protest from the Democrats on the committee, the committee chairman allowed each senator only five minutes to ask all of their questions.
The Senate confirmation hearing of education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos has been postponed until Jan. 17. This is for the best. DeVos is a controversial appointee who hasn’t even completed her ethics review, and there’s no need to fast-track her nomination.
The 115th Congress convenes today with the swearing in of both new and returning members. The Democrats picked up a few seats in both the House and Senate, but the Republicans will maintain their majorities in both chambers.
Come Jan. 20, the Republicans will also have control of the White House. Congressional leaders, however, aren’t waiting for Inauguration Day to start pushing through the agenda of President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Congress is going to move full speed ahead starting on day one. And Americans United will push back.
In late December, you start seeing “Top Ten” lists for the year that was. So without further ado, here are the Top Ten Church-State Stories from 2016 (in my humble opinion, at least):
President-elect Donald Trump has picked Betsy DeVos to head the U.S. Education Department. DeVos is infamous for leading the crusade to create private school vouchers, but she’s also known for her Wild West approach to charter schools – and that should worry religious-liberty watchdogs.
President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Betsy DeVos as his nominee for Secretary of Education, despite the fact that she has no experience with public education. Instead, DeVos has led the crusade to create taxpayer-funded private school voucher programs, which undermine our public schools. What’s more, vouchers don’t improve educational outcomes, they lack accountability and oversight, they fund schools that discriminate and violate religious freedom.
Americans United is hard at work sounding the alarm about some of the people President-elect Donald Trump has tapped to serve in his cabinet.
Among the most troubling is Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick to run the U.S. Department of Education. DeVos has no experience with public education. In fact, she’s hostile to the concept. DeVos has devoted much of her time over the years to prioritizing and promoting private school voucher plans.
Today, president-elect Donald Trump tapped Betsy DeVos to serve as Secretary of Education in his administration.
People went to the polls yesterday to vote on more than just who would be the next president of the United States. Voters in two states and one city voted on ballot initiatives that would have impacted religious freedom.
By Kelly Percival
Thirty-eight states protect religious liberty in their constitutions by prohibiting taxpayer money from being used to fund religion or religious institutions. These “no-aid clauses” safeguard the integrity of houses of worship by ensuring that they do not become beholden to state interests. Next week, however, Oklahoma voters will face State Question 790, a dangerous ballot measure that, if passed, would repeal Oklahoma’s no-aid-to-religion clause and erode the separation of church and state there.