Federal News in Brief

Dozens of Democratic Senators Voice Concerns About DeVos and Civil Rights

By Alyson Klein — July 18, 2017 1 min read
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Thirty-four Democratic senators have sent U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos a letter expressing their concerns with the direction of civil rights enforcement under her administration.

The lawmakers point to recent actions taken by the U.S. Department of Education. They include a new policy surrounding office for civil rights investigations that calls for less emphasis on examining individual complaints for evidence of systemic discrimination. The letter points to the Trump administration’s decision to rescind Obama-era guidance calling for transgender students to be able to use the restroom that matches their gender identity.

The senators are also unhappy that DeVos invited groups with a historic record of supporting policies such as gay-conversion therapy to a Father’s Day event at the department. And they are not pleased that DeVos hired Adam Kissel, who formerly worked at the conservative Koch network to serve as a deputy assistant secretary for higher education. Kissel has been skeptical of the standard of proof the Obama administration advocated for colleges investigating sexual assault and harassment claims.

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A version of this article appeared in the July 19, 2017 edition of Education Week as Dozens of Democratic Senators Voice Concerns About DeVos and Civil Rights

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