Civil and Human Rights Groups Express Concern Over Trump’s Pick for U.S. Secretary of Education

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Reacting to President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of GOP donor and school choice activist Betsy DeVos as the U.S. secretary of education, 33 civil and human rights groups issued a statement Monday expressing their concern that her appointment could hinder civil rights.

“We are deeply concerned that the president-elect seeks to nominate as a secretary of education a candidate whose experience — and lack of experience — calls into question core principles of fairness, equality, and a commitment to education,” the statement reads.

“DeVos’ very public support for voucher schemes — which siphon away all-too-limited public education funds and fail to provide protection from discrimination and segregation — and her opposition to appropriate oversight of charter schools run contrary to the department’s mission to ‘promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access,’” the statement continues.

The statement also expresses concern over DeVos’ connections with anti-LGBTQ groups and those that seek to limit a woman’s right to healthcare, as well as her opposition to affirmative action policies. These affiliations, the statement says, “demonstrate a lack of respect and appreciation for the diversity of our nation’s classrooms.”

Furthermore, because the Department of Education is responsible for protecting students against discrimination, the statement purports that the person who leads that department must demonstrate a commitment to valuing and protecting every student, regardless of status.

Groups signing off on the statement are:

·      Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
·      American Association for Access, Equity, and Diversity
·      American Association of University Women
·      American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
·      American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees
·      American Federation of Teachers
·      Americans United for Separation of Church and State
·      Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
·      Augustus F. Hawkins Foundation
·      Center for Law and Social Policy
·      Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
·      Education Law Center–PA
·      Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network
·      Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
·      Laotian American National Alliance
·      League of United Latin American Citizens
·      National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
·      NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
·      National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity
·      National Center for Transgender Equality
·      National Council of Asian Pacific Americans
·      National Council of Jewish Women
·      National Council of La Raza
·      National Education Association
·      National Women’s Law Center
·      New York Appleseed
·      OCA–Asian Pacific American Advocates
·      PolicyLink
·      Poverty and Race Research Action Council
·      Public Advocates
·      Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
·      Southern Poverty Law Center
·      Stand for Children