Presidents Day is a good time to reflect on some of the great things chief executives have said about separation of church and state and religious freedom.
Religious Right “Christian nation” advocate and pseudo-historian David Barton has a special offer for teachers: From March 15-17, he’ll be offering a conference at his home base in Aledo, Texas, “designed to equip teachers from both public and private schools with the principles and techniques that were used in early American education and thereafter for decades.”
Yesterday marked the start of School Choice Week, an event conjured up by the forces that want to divert as much money as possible from the public school system to private (mostly religious) institutions.
This is it. Today Donald J. Trump, a real estate developer and reality TV host with no political experience and a bevy of alarming views, is being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
This seemed unthinkable just a few short months ago, but it’s reality, and we have to deal with it.
Advocates and activists I know were certainly disappointed and even angry after the election. But none of them has turned away from activism. If anything, they’re more fired up than ever.
Last night, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on Betsy DeVos, the nominee for Secretary of Education. Senators showed up with a lot of questions for DeVos, who has no experience in education policy but instead has a long record of supporting private school vouchers. Despite protest from the Democrats on the committee, the committee chairman allowed each senator only five minutes to ask all of their questions.
The Senate confirmation hearing of education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos has been postponed until Jan. 17. This is for the best. DeVos is a controversial appointee who hasn’t even completed her ethics review, and there’s no need to fast-track her nomination.
The 115th Congress convenes today with the swearing in of both new and returning members. The Democrats picked up a few seats in both the House and Senate, but the Republicans will maintain their majorities in both chambers.
Come Jan. 20, the Republicans will also have control of the White House. Congressional leaders, however, aren’t waiting for Inauguration Day to start pushing through the agenda of President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Congress is going to move full speed ahead starting on day one. And Americans United will push back.
In late December, you start seeing “Top Ten” lists for the year that was. So without further ado, here are the Top Ten Church-State Stories from 2016 (in my humble opinion, at least):
President-elect Donald Trump has picked Betsy DeVos to head the U.S. Education Department. DeVos is infamous for leading the crusade to create private school vouchers, but she’s also known for her Wild West approach to charter schools – and that should worry religious-liberty watchdogs.