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Betsy DeVos refuses to visit public schools on NYC trip – blasts bans on taxpayer funds for religious education

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Betsy DeVos has concluded her two-day visit to New York City, during which she refused to visit a single public school, although she did attend two private, Orthodox Jewish religious schools. The Education Secretary also delivered remarks at a Catholic organization’s breakfast meeting, and blasted bans on the use of taxpayer funds for private religious schools.

1.1 million students in New York City get their education in 1800 public schools – the largest school system in America. DeVos did not step foot in any of them.

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The schools she did visit are reportedly part of a larger system that has been under investigation for three years, The New York Times reports, amid charges the focus on religious education is so severe students who graduate are unable to function anywhere outside their religious community. One of the two schools reportedly discourages graduates from attending college.

DeVos used her time in the Big Apple to further her private charter school advocacy, and made no attempt to hide her extremist views, which have repeatedly been characterized as unconstitutional.

“I know very well there are powerful interests that want to deprive families their God-given freedom,” DeVos told Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, during a breakfast meeting hosted by the Alfred E. Smith Foundation.

“I know that those sycophants of ‘the system’ have kept legislators here from enacting a common-sense program that would open options to thousands of kids in need,” she said, referring to bans on the use of taxpayer funds for private, religious schools.

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“Catholic education aims to serve the whole community — especially ‘the least of these.’ It aims to promote individual student achievement while developing the whole person…body, mind and soul,” she said. “Those are goals we share.”

DeVos, using the language of civil rights movements, called the bans on taxpayers funding private religious schools “bigoted,” and said those laws “should be assigned to the ash heap of history and this ‘last acceptable prejudice’ should be stamped out once and for all.”

The Education Secretary’s “actions have repeatedly demonstrated her disdain for public education,” American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten told Shareblue in a statement.

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“DeVos is about defunding and destabilizing public schools,” Weingarten said, “not strengthening and building the public schools she’s charged with overseeing and improving.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… 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.

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‘Not only wrong but crazy’: MSNBC panelists recoil in horror from Trump’s ‘abnormal’ views on foreign policy

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President Donald Trump made a number of puzzling and bizarre statements Tuesday about U.S. foreign policy, and panelists on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" were aghast.

The president canceled a tip to Denmark after its prime minister refused to entertain his offer to buy Greenland, offered a stunningly vapid assessment of the situation in Kashmir, and reiterated his interest in seeing Russia rejoin the G7.

"You can really understand in retrospect why Gen. (James) Mattis just quit (as defense secretary)," said MSNBC analyst Mike Barnacle. "He had to leave. You cannot be surrounded by such abnormalities coming out of the mouth of the president of the United States on a consistent, daily, multiple-times-a-day basis. We cannot make it normal, but there's a new normalcy when you see the president multiple times a day saying things that are absolutely, not only wrong, but crazy."

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‘Nuclear weapons arms race is here’: Russians, anti-nuke experts denounce US missile test

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A spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin said that "such tests only proved that from the very start, the Americans were determined to derail the INF Treaty and were making preparations for it."

Nuclear experts and disarmament advocates are warning that the world is witnessing a new arms race after the Pentagon tested a new missile Sunday that would have violated a Cold War-era treaty the Trump administration ditched earlier this month.

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23 Texas cities were targeted in a ‘coordinated ransomware attack’

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The majority of attacks were against small local governments, according to the state's Department of Information Resources.

Cybersecurity experts have been deployed by the state to assess the damage from a "coordinated ransomware attack" that struck 23 Texas cities on Friday, state officials said.

Investigators hadn't determined the origin of the attacks as of Friday evening and were still working to bring cities' systems back online, according to a news release from the Texas Department of Information Resources. The department believes, however, that the attacks came from a "single threat actor."

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