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Top Education Department official resigns — and cites DeVos diverting ‘critical’ resources to charter schools

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A top official at the U.S. Department of Education resigned this week over several disputes with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

BuzzFeed reports that James Runcie, the former chief operating officer of Federal Student Aid, sent a letter of resignation this week that said he could no longer in good conscience perform his job if he was being asked to serve as a political pawn.

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At issue was DeVos’ insistence that he testify in front of the House oversight committee about improper student aid payments this week.

“I have been consistently on record and clear about not testifying at the upcoming hearing on improper payments,” Runcie explained in his resignation letter.

In addition to his unwillingness to testify this week, Runcie also alleged that DeVos’ education department was working to “divert critical resources” from the financial aid office.

The Trump administration’s proposed budget would make some massive cuts that would eliminate college work-study programs, public-service loan forgiveness, and funding for advanced course work at public schools. Some of the savings in the budget would go toward paying for vouchers for charter schools.

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One source with knowledge of the circumstances surrounding Runcie’s resignation told BuzzFeed that DeVos’ insistence that he testify was the “straw that broke the camel’s back,” as “he doesn’t like being used as a political pawn.”

DeVos is testifying before the House appropriations committee on Wednesday addressing other issues at the department.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Wisconsin political professor shatters the biggest misconception about Trump’s base with a revealing poll

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One of the most enduring ideas the general public, and especially Democrats, have about President Donald Trump's supporters is that they are bound by an unflappable, cult-like devotion to the president that transcends any sort of logic, reason, or reservations.

But in a lengthy thread on Twitter Tuesday, former University of Wisconsin-Madison professor and Marquette Law School Poll Director Charles Franklin revealed polling data that show this isn't quite true. There are plenty of solid Trump partisans — but voters supporting Trump are, on average, less attached to him than voters opposing Trump are repelled by him:

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Trump told NRA’s Wayne LaPierre he’s not ‘waffling’ anymore — background checks are off the table

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President Donald Trump made a congratulatory phone call to National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre to let the far-right organization know that the White House was reversing itself and would not be supporting universal background checks for firearms sales.

Following shooting massacres in Gilroy, California, El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, Trump had argued the time was now for background checks.

"Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks," Trump argued. "Perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform. We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!"

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Three more major NRA leaders are out — as gun group continues downward spiral

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Tuesday, three more members of the National Rifle Association have stepped down making it a total of seven NRA board members to leave in the last several months, CNN reported.

The first three were board members who complained about the money NRA chief Wayne LaPierre used to pay for a Beverly Hills wardrobe. Their responsibilities were cut and they left shortly after.

Professional sports shooter Julie Golob left the board just one week ago before her three-year term was up.

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