Title IX Reforms Are Moving In The Right Direction

Imagine being accused of sexual misconduct and having your education and reputation hanging in the balance. While you know someone has accused you of something, your accuser has the right to remain anonymous and you are not allowed to have any legal representation during the evaluation of the claims against you. A relatively inexperienced college administrator in a Title IX office will be in charge of the process and will also decide who speaks on your behalf. And there is no standard other than the adjudicators in the process believing your accuser at a level of 50% plus a feather that could end your education at that institution and put a note in your permanent file that will brand you as a risk to any other institution you apply to. 

This is what young men across the country have faced since the 2011 Dear Colleague letter according to Michelle Owens, an attorney and social worker in Tennessee. She has stood by as an outside advisor to numerous young men confronted with the procedural fallout from the letter. She advises them outside of the process because she is not allowed in the interviews. In fact one college administrator said during one of the proceedings she was involved with that they “liked the attorneys to act like potted plants”.

Despite the challenges in the process, Ms. Owens has had a great deal of success in getting her clients relieved of the administrative charges levied against them. She attributes this to having a social work background in addition to being an attorney and being able to prepare her clients and their witnesses thoroughly. Ms. Owens also serves as a spokesperson for Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE). She is pleased at Secretary DeVos rescinding the Obama era guidance, but says there is more work to be done. The interim guidance does not address the full scope of needed changes and SAVE advocates for a return to due process protections to protect not only the accused, but victims as well. 

The primary problem with the Obama era guidance according to Ms. Owens is that it redefined sexual assault on college campuses. In cases she has handled the term sexual assault has been used to describe things such as touching on the shoulder and unwanted flirting. Perhaps most disturbing is that the vast majority of her clients were in relationships with their accusers that ended anywhere from two to eighteen months prior. Many times they had 100’s of interactions with their accuser and often no idea which of these the complaint arose from. She has also seen what could be typically referred to as bad manners from continuing to flirt when someone is not interested to having sexual relations with another person during the course of a relationship be handled through sexual assault charges and the Title IX office on campus. What used to get you labeled as a jerk that would have a hard time getting a date can now get you suspended and a notation in your transcript.

It also doesn’t help that every college has a different definition of what rises to the level of sexual assault. In many cases the list of behaviors under this definition do not rise to the level of criminal behavior and she sees many cases in which the accuser just wishes to rid themselves of having to deal with someone that has embarrassed or upset them. Ms. Owens acknowledges that there are cases of sexual assault and rape on college campuses that meet the legal definition of a crime. These are not the cases that she typically sees being handled by the Title IX office on campus. 

Further in cases where a sexual assault rises to the level of criminal behavior, a college office can not impose legal penalties such as jail time or require an individual to register as a sex offender. So while the process may remove the individual from the campus, it does nothing to protect women outside that environment from being assaulted. One must wonder why the feminist movement and Senators Gillibrand and Feinstein are okay with a scenario where a college campus can release an actual predator back into society without involving the criminal justice system. It’s essentially as if all of these proponents are looking to create a special class of victims on college campuses by infantilizing young women to be incapable of dealing with common relationship and dating issues, such as cheating while allowing actual predators to escape law enforcement. 

While SAVE and Ms. Owens are pleased at Secretary DeVos’ first steps in the process, they feel the interim guidance leaves some room for improvement to help victims and and the accused receive due process. First, like in every other case of federal law or regulations, there must be a consistent set of guidelines as to what constitutes sexual assault on a college campus that more closely follows the legal definitions of a crime. Ms. Owens says some schools have gone so far overboard in the definitions, the simplest of traditional dating rituals can arise in a complaint if the accuser says they are unwanted. While the new guidance reminds schools that the definition of hostile environment is sexual misconduct that is “severe, persistent, or pervasive”, these criteria need to be standardized so colleges and universities better understand what is expected.

Next, the interim guidelines provide for mediation. Mediation is used for problems with interactions, not to resolve an issue of criminal sexual assault. This fact that this is allowed on a case by case basis under the interim guidelines is a demonstration of how far outside the legal definition of sexual assault many campuses have gone. SAVE also encourages the referral of felony level cases to local law enforcement, whenever feasible. The criminal justice system provides 28 protections to identified victims that are not available on campuses.

Finally, SAVE advocates a system that provides consistency in training in the process of investigations for campus resources. Many Title IX investigators are entry level college administrators with limited background in investigation or due process. Having expert support would improve the process for both victims and the accused.

Ms. Owens adds that some of these changes may be forced by civil court actions. In her home state of Tennessee, the 6th Circuit recently ruled that colleges can be sued for failing to follow their own campus handbook policies and procedures, as it constitutes a due process violation. These cases are becoming more common as other courts have made rulings similar to the 6th Circuit. She adds it is far from an ideal solution though. For someone who was wrongly convicted through the campus process, a court case can take up to two years during which their education is essentially on hold. Further in the case of a victim who was sexually assaulted, they will usually be the chief witness for the school and be deposed at length forcing them to relive their experience. 

If you are interested in learning more about the recommendations SAVE has for campuses and Secretary DeVos you may visit their website. For issues with a Title IX claim you can reach Ms. Owens directly through this link





A Civics Discourse

Recently two extremely depressing studies have been released demonstrating the understanding (or lack thereof) that American citizens have about their government and their fundamental rights. Reading the results are somewhat terrifying in a constitutional republic that is supposed to have a government that operates with the consent of the governed. What is worse, it would seem we are putting our children through a compulsory educational system that allows them to know less about their system of government than those who wish to gain naturalized citizenship. Shall we take a look?

The Naturalization Test, is a set of 100 questions where 10 are randomly selected by an examiner and answered orally. So an applicant must study the answers to all 100 to ensure passing with a 6 out of 10 score. This is a single component of the full process, but I would think it is instructive on the basic expectations we as a society should have for citizens who are going to, oh I don’t know, vote?

The test is broken down into several categories:

  1. Principles of American Democracy – This section covers the purpose and content of our founding documents and includes the understanding that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Don’t tell the Democrats. Shhhhh!
  2. System of Government – Questions here include the three branches of government and how they operate, to include how laws are created and the separation of powers. It also asks questions about who is currently in office and differentiates federal and state powers.
  3. Rights and Responsibilities – New citizens are asked who can vote, who can hold office and to articulate one of several rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights. Believe it or not an acceptable answer is the right to bear arms. This must confuse new citizens is a few states.
  4. American History – covers major events from colonization to to September 11, 2001.
  5. Integrated Civics – Includes major geographical features of the US, our flag, anthem and holidays.

Seems pretty legit and appears to be a body of information we would want all fully functional adults capable of casting a ballot to know. So how do new citizens who study all of this information stack up against our own citizens educated in an expensive and compulsory system? Well…..

Headline from the Annenburg Policy Center – “Americans Are Poorly Informed About Basic Constitutional Provisions”. In a survey of 1,013 adults in the United States released on September 12, 2017 the following results were noted:

  • More than half of Americans (53 percent) incorrectly think it is accurate to say that immigrants who are here illegally do not have any rights under the U.S. Constitution;
  • More than a third of those surveyed (37 percent) can’t name any of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment;
  • Only a quarter of Americans (26 percent) can name all three branches of government.

As compared with results in 2011, the first year of the survey, 33% not being able to name a single branch is steady, but the number that can name all three has declined from 38% to 26%. Further, unprompted, 37% of respondents could not name a single right articulated in the First Amendment.

The next equally depressing result came from the Brooking Institute with a survey of college students and their views on the First Amendment. The most worrisome result on this survey is about 1/5 of college students believe it is okay to resort to violence to shut down a speaker they do not like. Nearly 2/3 of self identified campus Democrats believe shouting down a speaker is okay. And across the board a majority of these students believe if an offensive speaker in on campus there is a legal obligation for the university to provide an alternate point of view. Across the political spectrum students also expressed a desire for a more sheltered college environment that bans “offensive” speech.

The only way the results listed above can be explained is that we have what can only be called a crisis in basic civics education. I learned civics from the day I started school. Knowing what the Stars and Stripes in our flag stand for, how a bill becomes a law, what my First Amendment Rights are and that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land are things I do not remember not knowing. From coloring sheets in kindergarten to Saturday morning cartoons and Schoolhouse Rock, these concepts were reinforced continuously from my early childhood through my post graduate education. Somewhere along the line it be became more important to teach new pronouns like ze/zhe and apologize for our colonial history then it was to raise responsible citizens.

So perhaps Secretary DeVos has one more challenge to add to her list. In addition to restoring due process protections for college age men and expanding educational choice, perhaps we need to consider a national civics curriculum. I am not generally a fan of mandates, but in leaving no child behind and creating a common core of progressive nonsense we have clearly lost sight of the fundamental responsibility to create functional citizens in a republic. We have a national set of criteria to test the knowledge of new citizens. Perhaps we need a national set of criteria to produce our own good citizens. Based not on progressive apology, but rather Supreme Court decisions involving our most basic rights and the Constitution.

Or, we could always make everyone take the citizenship test prior to registering to vote. Don’t @ me. I’m not sure I think it’s a bad idea. Maybe then Carl Reiner couldn’t tweet stupid things like this and get 4,500 faves. Jerk.

In the Midst of Turmoil, Weekly Bible Study Has Become a Thing in the White House (GOOD)

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Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT – “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

A recent report from CBN News reveals that some members of the Trump White House have undertaken the noble effort of weekly Bible study meetings.

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Ralph Drollinger, a former NBA player and founder of Capitol Ministries has worked to bring together lawmakers in Washington in this study of God’s Word, believing that building up warriors for Christ in the White House will be carried out in the principles and policies these men and women promote for the nation.

And while this will surely set off the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments by the left, who will shriek about the separation of church and state, we should all be used to that, by now. What these leaders do in their free time should be of no concern to the humanist elements of the left, and to everyone else, it should be a comfort.

Drollinger says that there are currently about a dozen members of the Trump Cabinet participating in weekly Bible study, and he is encouraged.

“It’s the best Bible study that I’ve ever taught in my life. They are so teachable; they’re so noble; they’re so learned,” Drollinger said.

It’s groundbreaking since he doesn’t think a formal Bible study among executive Cabinet members has been done in at least 100 years.

Of those regulars at the Bible study, there are Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Health Secretary Tom Price, Agriculture Secretary Sunny Perdue, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

America’s top cop, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, also attends the study.

“He’ll (Jeff Sessions) go out the same day I teach him something and I’ll see him do it on camera and I just think, ‘Wow, these guys are faithful, available and teachable and they’re at Bible study every week they’re in town,'” Drollinger said.

Knowing Attorney General Sessions is taking part in these study groups is especially comforting, if not for those who understand how important it is for our leaders to have a grasp on some moral grounding, but for his own mental/emotional well-being.

Sessions has been targeted by President Trump for a consistent campaign of demeaning and demoralizing social media taunts, surprisingly, because of a very principled stand Sessions took early on (in recusing himself from the Russia probe).

I’d say he can only benefit from the fellowship of likeminded believers and the consistent pursuit of godly study.

That is the value of fellowship, when the world comes against you.

Romans 1:11-12 NASB “For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be [a]established; 12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.”

And Trump, himself?

So far, he has not made time to attend any of the Bible studies, although he is invited each week and receives copies of Drollinger’s teachings from each meeting.

Many have already determined that Trump’s alleged faith was “campaign trail faith,” which is to say, lip service to draw in the evangelical vote. This is not a new thing among politicians, but rarely have those who identify as “Christian” been so eager to support a man so openly profane as Trump, with the hope that he can be changed, afterwards.

Indeed, Drollinger has likened Trump to Samson – a man consecrated before his birth to God, destined to save the Israelites from the Philistines, in the Book of Judges.

I have some issues with that characterization, not the least of which is this urge to compare a man who has openly rejected God in one breath, while claiming to be a Christian in the next to a Biblical figure, in an attempt to justify support.

If our purpose is a higher calling of pursuing and promoting a godly agenda, we don’t wishcast about who we hope our leaders might be, but we lean on what Scripture teaches about leadership.

And we pray for them.

Vice President Pence, on the other hand, has planned to join the meetings, when it becomes feasible for him to do so.

In Pence, Drollinger sees many similarities to biblical figures like Joseph, Mordecai and Daniel – all men who rose to the number two position in governments at different times in history.

“Mike Pence has respect for the office. He dresses right – like it says Joseph cleaned himself up before he went to stand before the Pharaoh,” Drollinger told CBN News.

“Mike Pence has uncompromising biblical tenacity and he has a loving tone about him that’s not just a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal,” he continued. “And then fourthly, he brings real value to the head of the nation.”

Many are leaning on Pence to be the faith-filled leader in the dark corridors of Washington’s political elite. Time will tell.

For now, it should be a comfort to know that some of our leadership are taking the time to meet, study the Word, and presumably, to pray.

Proverbs 11:14 AMP “Where there is no [wise, intelligent] guidance, the people fall [and go off course like a ship without a helm], But in the abundance of [wise and godly] counselors there is victory.”

Betsy DeVos Appoints FIRE Vice-President To Prominent Post

Betsy DeVos is probably the most controversial appointment by President Donald Trump among conservatives. I have seen a lot of concern from people on my side of the aisle that she won’t do anything to advance conservative causes on the education front. Conservatives and Republicans are pretty split on the issue of charter schools, but two topics that most people on the right side of the aisle generally tend to agree on are federally mandated standards, and suppression of free speech on college campuses. On that second issue, almost nobody has been fighting against discrimination in higher education harder or more successfully than FIRE – the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

FIRE has been a thorn in the side of left-wing campus administrators for almost two decades – fighting back against any attempt to suppress free speech, religious liberty, or due process. They’ve been an advocate for conservative and libertarian groups nationwide that have had events shut down, materials destroyed, and access revoked due to religious or political views that contradict those of liberal professors and administrators. It’s safe to say that a member of one of these groups is the last person any liberal would want in charge of higher education in America.

This, however, that is exactly what Betsy DeVos has done. According to Inside Higher Ed, she has appointed Adam Kissell, the former Vice President of Programs and Director of the Individual Rights Defense Program at FIRE, to the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Programs at the federal Department of Education.

According to the Office of Post Secondary Education, the Higher Education Programs, which is run by the Deputy Assistant Secretary, “administers programs that broaden access to higher education and strengthen the capacity of colleges and universities. HEP also coordinates a number of higher education-related activities with states. HEP grant projects are awarded primarily to institutions of higher education, non-profit organizations and agencies, and state agencies.”

Basically, they control the purse strings and implementation of a wide-ranging group of federal higher education programs. This will hopefully provide excellent opportunities to incentive college administrators to more equitably enforce free speech standards across the board. Donald Trump has already threatened to pull federal funding from colleges such as U.C. Berkeley that discriminate against groups that hold views contrary to those of their professors and leadership.

It should be encouraging for liberty-loving conservatives to see these kinds of appointments coming from Secretary DeVos, and we can only hope this is one of many.

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Executive Order Aims To Return Local Control To Education

Over the past eight years, we’ve seen Obama’s Department of Education take a tight rein on educational policy, but, in what is certainly an encouraging move, President Donald Trump is set to undo that federal control with the stroke of a pen. The president will soon issue an executive order that takes great strides toward returning control of education to the local level.

The order will direct Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to sift through the Obama era regulations and flag the ones that wrest control away from local jurisdictions within 300 days. This of course will reverse the course set by Obama and his Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

(For instance, Duncan employed money from one particular program to promote Common Core standards, breaking protocol by essentially attempting to force states to adopt the standards as a national policy.)

I think this is a terrific decision and a massive step in the right direction. It’s a win for federalism and reflects well on Trump and DeVos. Control of educational policy – like so many other government policies – belongs at the closest level possible to the citizens. Good for President Trump in realizing this truth and taking steps to take educational decisions back to the local level.

The Smelliest Story You’ll Hear Today

Oh, and it does stink.

This is being treated as some kind of smoking gun blockbuster revelation. In January, Erik Prince, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ brother and founder of Blackwater, reportedly met with “a Russian close to President Vladi­mir Putin.” The Washington Post breathlessly reported this as a “secret meeting”  in the Seychelles arranged by the United Arab Emirates.

They reported that the purpose of the meeting was “part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump.” This is all, of course, backed up by unnamed “U.S., European, and Arab officials.” (That means, nobody on record, ICYDK.)

These “officials” were really busy feeding this story to an all-too-willing WaPo, and now it’s been picked up by the usual suspects (NBC News, Slate, et al). It’s like leaving a stinking pile of garbage on a hot New York City street. The flies will gather and feast.

Let’s break it down.

Prince, a former Navy SEAL, founded Blackwater, the security firm, in 1997. Blackwater is synonymous with atrocities in the Iraq War, having four of its employees convicted by U.S. courts for killing 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007. The company renamed itself XE Services in 2009, and sold to a group of private investors in 2011 who renamed it Academi.

Prince has not been involved in day-to-day management of the company since 2009 when he resigned as CEO. The company has always had close ties to high-profile military and GOP figures. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft currently serves on its board of directors along with Red McCombs, a Texas businessman and well-known Trump donor.

The WaPo story makes a big deal of the fact that Prince is a Trump donor. My reaction to that is simple: Well duh! They also bring up that Prince was “seen in the Trump transition offices in New York in December.” Trump Tower in December was like a circus and a reception line filled with visitors. Prince is a well-known supporter, donor, and brother to DeVos–of course he’d visit.

Prince had no role in the Trump transition. WaPo would have us believe that Betsy DeVos, whom Trump announced as his pick for Education on Nov. 23, asked her brother to be a go-between for the Trump campaign and the Russians. Or maybe that Prince, who appeared on radio interviews with Steve Bannon, and was acquianted with Michael Flynn, agreed to set up this “back channel.” Am I reading a major newspaper or Alex Jones’ Infowars here?

This is simply garbage reporting. It’s nearly as bad as Buzzfeed’s publishing of the “Russian dossier” and golden showers.

Read this little nugget for the key to unlock a planned attack from inside the Obama-infested DOJ.

U.S. officials said the FBI has been scrutinizing the Seychelles meeting as part of a broader probe of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and alleged contacts between associates of Putin and Trump.

Yep, the FBI looked at the meeting, and now it’s been anonymously leaked to the press. When has that happened before? (Don’t answer that.)

The Seychelles encounter, which one official said spanned two days, adds to an expanding web of connections between Russia and Americans with ties to Trump — contacts that the White House has been reluctant to acknowledge or explain until they have been exposed by news organizations.

Can’t you just smell the intrigue dripping from that sentence?

The meeting was reportedly set up by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

Officials said Zayed and his brother, the UAE’s national security adviser, coordinated the Seychelles meeting with Russian government officials with the goal of establishing an unofficial back channel between Trump and Putin.

Again with “officials.” Are they the same “U.S. officials” who reported on the FBI investigation? Are they Arab officials? Are they Russians? All we know is that they are unnamed. The “officials” story isn’t backed up by the UAE ambassador in Washington either.

The Seychelles sit in the middle of the Indian Ocean, about 750 miles northeast of Madagascar. Nobody there knows anything either.

Government officials in the Seychelles said they were not aware of any meetings between Trump and Putin associates in the country around Jan. 11. But they said luxury resorts on the island are ideal for clandestine gatherings like the one described by the U.S., European and Arab officials.

“I wouldn’t be surprised at all,” said Barry Faure, the Seychelles secretary of state for foreign affairs. “The Seychelles is the kind of place where you can have a good time away from the eyes of the media. That’s even printed in our tourism marketing. But I guess this time you smelled something.

Oh, I smell something all right. It’s what leaks from the bottom of a rusted garbage can on a hot day.

And the connection with UAE? How about the fact that Erik Prince now primarily resides in Abu Dhabi, and works for Zayed? In the WaPo story, one paragraph mentioned the fact that Prince “has had lucrative contracts” with UAE. In 2015, the New York Times reported that Prince was hired by Zayed to assemble an 800-member “foreign legion” for the Emirates. Apparently the Obama administration was just peachy with that deal.

“The gulf countries, and the U.A.E. in particular, don’t have a lot of military experience. It would make sense if they looked outside their borders for help,” said one Obama administration official who knew of the operation. “They might want to show that they are not to be messed with.”

This entire ball of speculation and guilt-by-association accusation by nameless “officials” is likely nothing more than some inside leaker’s attempt to make something out of nothing. WaPo can’t even prove that a meeting even took place. They don’t have a single solitary named source who was willing to go on the record about this.

Either it never happened, or it’s not what they are reporting it to be, or everyone is so scared of being disappeared by Putin or Prince that they can’t possibly reveal themselves. I’ll bet on the first two options, and a healthy dose of confirmation bias. This story stinks like yesterday’s diapers left in the sun under a layer of spoiled hamburger.

Betsy DeVos Opposed Ending Obama School Bathroom Mandate

The Trump Administration issued an order earlier this week ending the Obama era policy of federal micromanagement of public school bathrooms. As he issued the order, President Trump reportedly received opposition from a surprising source: newly confirmed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

Both CNN and the New York Times cite sources within the Administration who say that Mrs. DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions were in conflict over the initial draft of bathroom order. Both the Justice and Education Departments were initially in agreement that the Obama policy was an improper federal overreach into state and local matters. In a joint letter, the two departments said that Obama’s policy was enacted “without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”

Mr. Sessions and the Justice Department favored a swift reversal of the policy to head off two pending Supreme Court cases that cover transgender bathroom usage. The possibility of a ruling by the high Court that would lock the Obama policy into place made it necessary to act before the cases came to the Supreme Court. The Court was scheduled to hear one of the bathroom cases in March.

The Times cited three Republicans who said that Mrs. DeVos initially resisted signing onto the Trump Administration order on the grounds that it might cause harm to transgender students. DeVos and Sessions clashed over the order and eventually took their disagreement to President Trump. Trump sided with Sessions and reportedly gave Mrs. DeVos the option of supporting the order or resigning.

DeVos eventually gave her assent to the order, but released a separate statement that said, “We have a responsibility to protect every student in America and ensure that they have the freedom to learn and thrive in a safe and trusted environment. This is not merely a federal mandate, but a moral obligation no individual, school, district or state can abdicate. At my direction, the department’s Office for Civil Rights remains committed to investigating all claims of discrimination, bullying and harassment against those who are most vulnerable in our schools.”

The incident has caused some on the right to suspect that DeVos is soft on resistance to the gay rights movement. Red State pointed out that her political advisor, Greg McNeilly, is in a same-sex marriage and is a LGBT activist. In the Advocate, McNeilly said that DeVos and her husband went “out of their way to show affirmation” for his marriage and views.

“She would say it’s a part of her faith,” said McNeilly in the New York Times. “Her faith teaches her to be tolerant. And like most of America, she’s evolved.”

The New York Times also reported that DeVos’s support for gay rights goes back to the 1990s when she intervened to allow a transgender woman (a biological male) to use the women’s restroom at a Republican call center in Michigan.

John Truscott, a Republican political consultant who worked with DeVos’s husband, Dick, told Buzzfeed in January, “Betsy is supportive of gay marriage.” The Times reported that Betsy DeVos urged other Michigan Republicans to sign a Supreme Court brief in favor of same-sex marriage in 2015, but did not sign herself.

Ironically, LGBT activists opposed the confirmation of DeVos because they considered her a threat to gay rights and accused her of supporting groups that promoted therapy for people with a homosexual orientation. Politifact rated those charges as “mostly false.”

DeVos is apparently one of a growing number of Republicans, particularly from outside the Bible Belt, that support gay rights. President Trump seems to be a member of this group as well, even proudly waving an LGBT flag at a campaign rally last fall. Trump told the publisher of the gay newspaper, Bay Windows, earlier this month that there would be “more forward motion on equality for gays and lesbians.”

The establishment of pro-gay curriculums in many schools, including the entire state of California, has caused conflict with many parents who believe that homosexuality and same-sex marriage are immoral. The new revelations about Mrs. DeVos’s views on gay rights may cause many conservatives to wonder whether her sympathy for gay rights will outweigh her desire to return control of schools back to local school boards and parents.


The One Thing You Can Do to Stop Betsy DeVos

I have seen more left-of-center Americans openly talk about homeschooling their children in the past 24 hours than I have ever seen in my life. They are convinced that Betsy DeVos is going to destroy public education in America.

Let me state up front that while I am a DeVos supporter and think she will excel, I also think the U.S. Secretary of Education actually can do very little to affect local education. Yes, she will impact certain areas of the public education experience, particularly with Title I funding, but in the day to day practice of teaching, she will do little.

A lot of Americans think she will be very destructive. There is one thing these parents can do. They can and should commit to making sure education is a local matter. The federal Secretary of Education should not be powerful enough to affect the daily lives of your children. The constitution does not list education as one of the enumerated powers of the federal government. Consequently, education should be a local matter.

This has long been why I have favored the elimination of the Department of Education. If you think Betsy DeVos will be a terrible education secretary, you should want to minimize the power of that office. A federal Department of Education big enough to improve your children’s school is also big enough to screw it all up. And education is not a federal power.

The left, in America, is suddenly realizing states really do matter. They are suddenly realizing federalism is a good thing. I suspect when a Democrat next inhabits the White House they will promptly forget all this, but they should not. They should work with conservatives to rein in the power of the federal government and embrace the heterogenous states and people that our Founders appreciated.

We should have no nationally common social standards, no nationally common education, and no one size fits all utopia. We should have fifty with Washington doing the bare minimum to keep us safe while we live our lives in the fifty laboratories of democracy.