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Besty DeVos denounced for ‘craven’ new public school privatization scheme

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U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Gage Skidmore)

With the Trump administration planning to demand that Congress devote a large chunk of the state and local education funding in the next Covid-19 relief package to a new grant program for private and religious schools, the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers on Thursday accused Education Secretary Betsy DeVos of attempting to exploit the pandemic to advance her privatization agenda.

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“It is telling that, after spending more than three years doing nothing to help the public schools that 90 percent of children attend, Betsy DeVos races to divert resources into private hands 48 hours after the Supreme Court’s decision in Espinoza,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a statement, referring to the high court’s ruling Tuesday that religious schools cannot be excluded from taxpayer aid programs.

“With our country dealing with a pandemic, an economic recession, and structural racism, she’s spied an opening to exploit this crisis to resuscitate her failed agenda,” said Weingarten. “And it’s especially sickening that, in the middle of a national reckoning over race, when poor schools are in desperate need of funds to reopen safely, DeVos hijacks the anniversary of the Civil Rights Act to shift support away from where it’s needed most.”

“DeVos’ craven attempts to divide and privatize would be laughable if the stakes weren’t so high,” Weingarten added.

McClatchy reported Thursday that the Trump administration intends to ask Congress “for a ‘one-time, emergency appropriation’ for a new grant proposal” that would “be provided to states to distribute to nonprofit institutions that disburse scholarships to qualified students who want to attend non-public schools.”

“The White House is seeking to have 10% of the amount that Congress approves for state and local educational agencies set aside for the grants,” according to McClatchy. “Trump will also seek approval of $5 billion in federal tax credits for businesses and individuals who donate to the scholarship programs.”

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Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, warned in a statement Thursday that “Secretary DeVos and President Trump are using this pandemic as an excuse to push an ideological privatization agenda that would divert much-needed funds away from our public schools that serve approximately 90% of students across the country.”

“Right now, our public education system is facing unprecedented challenges—public schools are scrambling to implement safety protocols with limited funds, millions of education jobs are on the line due to looming budget shortfalls, and families across the country are struggling with a chaotic, uncertain reality,” Murray said.

“On the anniversary of Civil Rights Act of 1964, it’s also important to note the pandemic has exacerbated severe racial inequities that have long existed in our education system,” the Washington Democrat continued. “If Republicans have any sincere interest in addressing these inequities, they should show it by working with Democrats to invest in public education and address systemic racism rather than siphoning resources away when they’re needed more than ever.”

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2020 Election

Trump whines press didn’t cover the ‘two Nobel Prizes’ — that he didn’t win

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The leader of the free world spoke of the Nobel Peace Prize as if he had repeatedly won the award.

Trump made the complaints he has not received the recognition he thinks he deserves during a campaign rally in Middletown, Pennsylvania.

"They didn't cover two Nobel Prizes," Trump says he told first lady Melania Trump. "I got two in one week, did you ever hear of that?"

Trump received two nominations, he has never won a Nobel Peace Prize.

"And my only complaint is, I should have gotten about seven or eight, because if you knew some of the other things -- some of the other things I have done much better," Trump argued, despite having not won the award a single time. "I should have gotten seven."

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Portland police search for white man who kicked Black journalist in the head at ‘Proud Boys’ rally

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On Saturday, the far-right group the "Proud Boys" held a rally at Delta Park in Portland, Oregon.

Zane Sparling, of The Portland Tribune documented the scene, with many attendees wearing militia dress.

https://twitter.com/PDXzane/status/1309945564922961920

Sparling captured video of a man pushing a Black journalist to the ground and kicking him in the head:

Man pushes live-streamer to the ground and kicks him in the face at Proud Boys is rally in Portland pic.twitter.com/SAdHShqir3

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Trump’s Amy Coney Barrett pick for Supreme Court might backfire: analysts

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President Donald Trump announced Saturday that he would nominate Amy Coney Barrett to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vacant Supreme Court seat. Trump made his pick official during an event at the White House Rose Garden.

“As Amy has said, being a judge takes courage. You are not there to decide cases as you may prefer, you are there to do your duty, and to follow the law, wherever it may take you. That is exactly what Judge Barrett will do on the U.S. Supreme Court.”

He continued: “No matter the issue, no matter the case before her. I am supremely confident that Judge Barrett will issue rulings based solely upon a fair reading of the law. She will defend the sacred principle of equal justice for citizens of every race, color, religion and creed.”

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