Federal

Trump Moves to Fill Key Civil Rights Post

By Andrew Ujifusa — November 01, 2017 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Trump administration has picked the leader of a group that advocates for the civil rights of the Jewish community to hold the top civil rights post under U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

If confirmed, Kenneth L. Marcus, the founder and president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, would take over the reins as assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The post is now held in an acting capacity by Candice Jackson, who has drawn criticism for her comments about sexual assault on college campuses and racial issues.

Previously, Marcus served as the staff director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He was delegated the authority of the assistant secretary for civil rights at the Education Department under President George W. Bush. He also worked at the Department of Housing and Urban Development under Bush.

Marcus’ authority at the Education Department, where he worked from 2002 to 2004, was a point of contention for some civil rights groups. They argued that Marcus was being given the power of an assistant secretary without being confirmed by the Senate. The Bush administration maintained that since he had been delegated the authority of an assistant secretary, he could hold the post indefnitely. (Marcus left the department that year to work at the civil rights commission.)

On its website, the Brandeis Center states that its mission is “to advance the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and promote justice for all.” Marcus has criticized political movements that push governments to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel, and in particular those on college campuses. He has said that anti-Israel sentiments in higher education have intimidated those with pro-Israel views.

Charged Atmosphere

DeVos’ approach to civil rights is under intense scrutiny. She and her supporters say that the federal government is taking a fairer approach to civil rights issues that gives states and local school districts more power than under the Obama administration.

Critics charge that her approach to issues such as systemic racial discrimination and transgender rights threatens to do harm to disadvantaged groups of students.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, an umbrella organization which has frequently criticized DeVos, did not make any direct reference to Marcus’ work at the Brandeis Center or elsewhere in its official reaction to his nomination.

But citing DeVos’ “dismal” record on civil rights, the group said that senators who will consider Marcus’ nomination have “an obligation to thoroughly examine the qualifications of Kenneth L. Marcus and his record, the actions of the office for civil rights since the beginning of this administration, and planned future actions.”

A version of this article appeared in the November 01, 2017 edition of Education Week as Trump Moves to Fill Key Civil Rights Post

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Your Questions on the Science of Reading, Answered
Dive into the Science of Reading with K-12 leaders. Discover strategies, policy insights, and more in our webinar.
Content provided by Otus
Mathematics Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Breaking the Cycle: How Districts are Turning around Dismal Math Scores
Math myth: Students just aren't good at it? Join us & learn how districts are boosting math scores.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How To Tackle The Biggest Hurdles To Effective Tutoring
Learn how districts overcome the three biggest challenges to implementing high-impact tutoring with fidelity: time, talent, and funding.
Content provided by Saga Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Opinion 'Jargon' and 'Fads': Departing IES Chief on State of Ed. Research
Better writing, timelier publication, and more focused research centers can help improve the field, Mark Schneider says.
7 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal Electric School Buses Get a Boost From New State and Federal Policies
New federal standards for emissions could accelerate the push to produce buses that run on clean energy.
3 min read
Stockton Unified School District's new electric bus fleet reduces over 120,000 pounds of carbon emissions and leverages The Mobility House's smart charging and energy management system.
A new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency sets higher fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles. By 2032, it projects, 40 percent of new medium heavy-duty vehicles, including school buses, will be electric.
Business Wire via AP
Federal What Would Happen to K-12 in a 2nd Trump Term? A Detailed Policy Agenda Offers Clues
A conservative policy agenda could offer the clearest view yet of K-12 education in a second Trump term.
8 min read
Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, March 9, 2024, in Rome Ga.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, March 9, 2024, in Rome, Ga. Allies of the former president have assembled a detailed policy agenda for every corner of the federal government with the idea that it would be ready for a conservative president to use at the start of a new term next year.
Mike Stewart/AP
Federal Opinion Student Literacy Rates Are Concerning. How Can We Turn This Around?
The ranking Republican senator on the education committee wants to hear from educators and families about making improvements.
6 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty