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 will go to the polls tomorrow and elect a new president. It’s an awesome responsibility, one of the defining characteristics of a free people.
Americans United is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. Under federal law, we can’t endorse or oppose candidates (although we can take sides on ballot referenda). Unlike some Religious Right groups, we respect this law and follow it.
It’s not our job to tell you how to vote. It is our job to remind you why civic participation is important. And it’s our job to tell you – and all Americans – what we stand for.
A Tennessee mother is arguing that her family’s “personal religious beliefs were violated” because her daughter was expected to learn historical and objective information about Islam as a part of her social studies curriculum in a public school.
A Connecticut police chief thinks that crime is on the rise in his city due to people not being religious – actually Christian – enough.
“We need God in our lives,” Bridgeport Police Chief Armando Perez said on Saturday to a crowd of people attending a police solidarity march, according to a Connecticut Post report.
On Friday, The Washington Post reported that the U.S. Department of Education will begin collecting data this year to track religiously motivated discrimination or bullying allegations from students.
“Students of all religions should feel safe, welcome and valued in our nation’s schools,” Catherine E. Lhamon, the department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, said in an announcement.
Yesterday, Donald Trump unveiled his education plan. It lacks any vision for strengthening our public schools. Instead, it would divert $20 billion in federal funding to “school choice,” including private school vouchers.
Last night around 9:40 I received an email with a curious subject line. “The Greatest American Woman, R.I.P.,” it read.
“Who could that be?” I wondered as I opened the message. Came the answer: Phyllis Schlafly.
“Today, Phyllis Schlafly died like she lived – with dignity and a smile,” wrote Ed Martin, president of the Eagle Forum, a group Schlafly founded. “Surrounded by her family, Phyllis passed away and entered her reward with the Lord. Her family, friends and staff will miss her. Her nation will be eternally grateful.”
Over the weekend, The New York Times ran a story about a trend among far-right conservatives in Kansas who call public schools “government schools.”
The idea is that a shift in terminology will change opinions. After all, to many people, “public” equals good, while “government” equals bad.
As Erica Massman, a moderate Republican, told The Times, “They are trying to rebrand public education.”
If you have children, there’s a good chance you’ve worked hard to instill in them the values you hold, whether those values are religious or secular.
If you’re a Christian, a Jew, a Hindu, a Pagan, a humanist, etc. you probably raised your children in that faith or philosophy. If it was important to you, you likely wanted it to be important to them.