Tag Archives: Betsy DeVos

Biden Signs Two Executive Orders to Advance Gender Equality on International Women’s Day

“Let us recommit to the principle that our nation, and the world, is at its best when the possibilities for all of our women and girls are limitless.”

By Jenna McGuire, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-8-2021

Photo: Narih Lee/flickr/CC

On Monday—International Women’s Day—President Joe Biden signed an executive order to establish the White House Gender Policy Council to address gender equality and human rights of women and girls and “ensure that every domestic and foreign policy we pursue rests on a foundation of dignity and equity for women.”

“We know that governments, economies, and communities are stronger when they include the full participation of women—no country can recover from this pandemic if it leaves half of its population behind,” read a statement released by the White House on the new Gender Policy Council. Continue reading

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Report of Illegal $80 Million Arms Transfer by Erik Prince to Libyan Warlord Raises Question of Who’s Backing Former Blackwater CEO

Prince has “been linked to the Trump administration, the Emirati leadership, and the Russians,” noted one expert.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-20-2021

Erik Prince is the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and founder of the mercenary firm Blackwater. Screenshot: C-SPAN

Erik Prince, the founder and former CEO of the mercenary firm Blackwater and a close ally of former President Donald Trump, sent weapons to a Libyan warlord in violation of a United Nations arms embargo, according to a confidential U.N. document reported Friday by the New York Times.

The U.N. report, which investigators sent to the Security Council on Thursday, reportedly details how Prince sent foreign mercenaries armed with attack aircraft, gunboats, and cyberwarfare capabilities to support renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar during a major 2019 battle in eastern Libya. Continue reading

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‘Alarming’: Trump Blocks CDC Officials From Testifying to Education Panel on School Reopenings

“It’s imperative that we listen to the experts… the president is barring them from the room.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-18-2020

Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Photo: White House/flickr

The Democratic chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee revealed Friday that the Trump administration is blocking Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials—including agency director Dr. Robert Redfield—from testifying at a congressional hearing next week on school reopenings as the White House continues its efforts to force the resumption of in-person classes in the fall.

“It is alarming that the Trump administration is preventing the CDC from appearing before the committee at a time when its expertise and guidance is so critical to the health and safety of students, parents, and educators,” Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) said in a statement. “This lack of transparency does a great disservice to the many communities across the country facing difficult decisions about reopening schools this fall.” Continue reading

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Trump Accused of Suppressing CDC Warning That Full School Reopenings Pose ‘Highest Risk’ of Covid-19 Spread

“By trying to bury what the CDC recommends, Trump is betraying every student, teacher, and parent in this country. Shame on him. Shame on those who enable him.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-13-2020

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, takes questions from reporters during a Coronavirus Task Force update Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020,. Photo/White House/flickr/CC

The leader of one of the largest teachers’ unions in the U.S. accused President Donald Trump over the weekend of “trying to bury” federal guidelines warning that fully reopening schools and universities in the fall poses a high risk of spreading Covid-19 and endangering the health of students, faculty, and parents.

A 69-page packet (pdf) of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention materials obtained by the New York Times and labeled “For Internal Use Only” cautions that the “more people a student or staff member interacts with, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of Covid-19 spread.” Continue reading

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‘A New Low’: Betsy DeVos Sued for Garnishing Wages of Nearly 300,000 Student Loan Borrowers During Pandemic

“The Trump administration is taking money from borrowers who are living on the edge of poverty, in the middle of a pandemic, and in violation of the law.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-1-2020

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)

A home health aide who earns just under $13 per hour is the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit filed Thursday against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, whose department has continued garnishing the wages of hundreds of thousands of student loan borrowers in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The CARES Act, which was signed into law in late March, prohibits the Education Department from seizing the wages and tax refunds of student loan borrowers who have defaulted on their loans. Continue reading

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Come ‘Say This to My Face,’ Says Ayanna Pressley After Betsy DeVos Compares Being Pro-Choice to Being Pro-Slavery

Democratic congresswoman and chair of the House Abortion Access Task Force said she “would welcome the opportunity to educate” the Education Secretary on reproductive rights. And maybe U.S. history of chattel slavery?

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-24-2020

Screenshot: WCVB

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, chair of the House Abortion Access Task Force, offered Thursday to give Education Secretary Betsy DeVos a face-to-face lesson on reproductive rights and U.S. history after the billionaire cabinet official likened the arguments of pro-choice advocates to those of slavery supporters during the Civil War Era—a comparison one critic denounced as “utterly deranged.”

“Dear Betsy, As a Black woman and the chair of the Abortion Access Task Force, I invite you to come by the Hill and say this to my face,” Pressley tweeted after DeVos’ remarks during an event sponsored by Colorado Christian University spread across social media. “Would welcome the opportunity to educate you.” Continue reading

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DeVos Threatens to Cut Funding for Middle Eastern Studies Programs for ‘Portraying Islam Too Positively’

“This is what a real threat to free speech on a college campus looks like.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-22-2019

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)

Sunday marked a deadline for the University of North Carolina and Duke University to submit information to the Trump administration about the two schools’ Consortium for Middle East Studies, after the Department of Education accused the joint program of biases against Christianity and Judaism.

The DOE called on the schools to provide a list of events it is supporting in during the school year and a full list of courses it’s offering, claiming in a letter sent late last month that in the program, “there is a considerable emphasis placed on the understanding the positive aspects of Islam, while there is an absolute absence of any similar focus on the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism, or any other religion or belief system in the Middle East.”
Continue reading

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‘Good First Step’ as DeVos Forced to Cancel $150M in Student Loan Debt for Thousands Scammed by For-Profit Schools


“It’s disappointing that it took a court order to get Secretary DeVos to begin providing debt relief to students left in the lurch by predatory for-profit colleges.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-14-2018

Photo: CNN screenshot

After a federal judge struck down billionaire Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ attempt to gut protections for students scammed by for-profit colleges, the Department of Education announced on Thursday that—because of the court mandate—it is canceling $150 million in student loan debt for around 15,000 defrauded borrowers.

“The Department of Education illegally delayed implementation of the 2016 borrower defense rule, but because our clients in Bauer v. DeVos were willing to fight back, 15,000 students are finally getting the relief they are owed,” said Toby Merrill, director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending, which represented the students leading the legal fight against DeVos. Continue reading

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Hospital Letter Urging Patient to Start ‘Fundraising Effort’ to Pay for Heart Treatment Seen as Yet Another Reason America Needs Medicare for All

“‘You can’t have a heart unless you do GoFundMe for 10K’ is not a just system.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-24-2018

Photo: USAF

As progressive lawmakers and healthcare experts have frequently pointed out in recent months, few growing trends have laid bare the fundamental immorality and brokenness of America’s healthcare system quite like the rise of GoFundMe and other crowdfunding platforms as methods of raising money for life-saving medical treatments that—due to insurance industry greed and dysfunction—are far too expensive for anyone but the very wealthiest to afford.

Providing the latest example of this horrifying trend, a Michigan woman seeking a heart transplant publicized a letter she received from the Spectrum Health Richard DeVos Heart and Lung Transplant Clinic—named after the late father-in-law of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos—informing her that she is “not a candidate” for the procedure “at this time” because she needs a “more secure financial plan” to afford the required post-operation immunosuppressive medication. Continue reading

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‘Crushing Defeat’ for DeVos as Federal Judge Rules She Illegally Delayed Relief for Students Defrauded by For-Profit Colleges

“This is a major victory for student borrowers and for anyone who cares about having a government that operates under the rule of law, instead of as a pawn of the for-profit college industry.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-13-2018

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)

A Washington, D.C. federal judge has delivered a “crushing defeat” of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, ruling that the Trump-appointee illegally delayed Obama-era regulations to provide loan relief to students defrauded by for-profit colleges.

U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss, in a 57-page ruling (pdf) issued Wednesday, sided with consumer advocates and a coalition of 19 Democratic states attorneys general, determining that DeVos’s actions to delay the borrower defense rule were “unlawful,” “procedurally invalid,” and “arbitrary and capricious.” Continue reading

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