AAUW Responds to News of Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at Department of Education

April 20, 2017


US Department of Education official seal

AAUW has repeatedly said personnel is policy. It is our hope that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and President Donald Trump will demonstrate the seriousness with which they regard the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) when they nominate a permanent assistant secretary for civil rights who moves through the Senate confirmation process. The administration announced an acting assistant secretary last week, who, as a nonpermanent employee, won’t face Senate scrutiny. We look forward to working with OCR, and we know that stakeholders, parents, students, and communities deserve the opportunity to fully assess a qualified nominee to fill the role.

We have questions and expect answers as to how OCR will handle its obligation to enforce key nondiscrimination statutes in schools, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which prohibit discrimination in schools on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and age. Bias and discrimination of any kind are not acceptable — not in schools, not in our national dialogue, nor in a government that truly represents all of us.

AAUW believes in speaking truth to power, and we will be a valued ally or fierce critic as the situation warrants. We can only hope that President Trump and Secretary DeVos appoint officials who aim to work for all Americans, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Throughout our more than 135-year history, AAUW has always stood for solutions that work for all women and families. We also stand united against bigotry and bias whenever and wherever they appear. Americans are watching these nominations with keen interest, and our expectations are high.


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By:   |   April 20, 2017