WASHINGTON—Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement in advance of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ oversight hearing before the House Education and the Workforce Committee:
“Tomorrow’s oversight hearing into the work of the U.S. Department of Education this year should be an opportunity to explore whether Secretary DeVos has truly fulfilled the department’s mandate to advance public education and protect students’ civil rights.
In her first year as secretary, DeVos has consistently shirked her civil rights duties. She’s rescinded vital guidance relating to the rights of transgender students and schools’ obligations regarding sexual violence, limited review of systemic discrimination reported to the department, and foreshadowed rollbacks to protections for students of color and students with disabilities regarding school discipline.
Every single member serving on the House Education and the Workforce Committee has an important oversight role to play and must press Secretary DeVos to explain how she squares these actions with the department’s mandate to ensure equal educational opportunity and protection from discrimination. The secretary’s role as the nation’s primary enforcer of federal education and civil rights laws is vital to advancing public education and ensuring that all children attend a welcoming, rigorous, and well-resourced school that prepares them for future success. We all deserve to know why DeVos has taken the actions she has taken and what Congress intends to do to ensure the department continues to be the vital civil rights agency that America’s children need.”
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.