The arrest warrants that Jerry Falwell Jr. said were issued for misdemeanor trespassing for a New York Times photographer and ProPublica reporter were actually issued by a member of Liberty University’s campus police and do not appear to have legal weight, Business Insider reports.
“Chronic absenteeism is a problem in American education during the best of times, but now, with the vast majority of the nation’s school buildings closed and lessons being conducted remotely, more students than ever are missing class — not logging on, not checking in or not completing assignments,” the New York Times reports.
“The absence rate appears particularly high in schools with many low-income students, whose access to home computers and internet connections can be spotty. Some teachers report that less than half their students are regularly participating.”
“The trend is leading to widespread concern among educators, with talk of a potential need for summer sessions, an early start in the fall, or perhaps having some or even all students repeat a grade once Americans are able to return to classrooms.”
“As Liberty University’s spring break was drawing to a close this month, Jerry Falwell Jr., its president, spoke with the physician who runs Liberty’s student health service about the rampaging coronavirus,” the New York Times reports.
“So Mr. Falwell — a staunch ally of President Trump and an influential voice in the evangelical world — reopened the university last week, igniting a firestorm, epidemiologically and otherwise. As of Friday, nearly a dozen Liberty students were sick with symptoms that suggest Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.”
“As the coronavirus threatens to spread across the Lynchburg region, Liberty University officials are preparing to welcome back up to 5,000 students from spring break this week,” the Lynchburg News & Advance reports.
“Defying a national trend of campus closures, President Jerry Falwell Jr. has invited students to return to residence halls and has directed faculty members to continue to report to campus even as most classes move online.”
Said Falwell: “I think we have a responsibility to our students — who paid to be here, who want to be here, who love it here — to give them the ability to be with their friends, to continue their studies, enjoy the room and board they’ve already paid for and to not interrupt their college life.”
Politico: “The coronavirus outbreak could close down many U.S. classrooms for the rest of the school year, blowing a hole in kids’ math and reading skills, tanking test scores for years to come and making it a scramble for some to even finish high school.”
“As student debt continues to climb, President Trump on Monday released a budget for 2021 that would slash many of the programs aimed at helping borrowers,” CNBC reports.
“President Trump turned a Philadelphia fourth grader into a poster child for the school-choice movement Tuesday when he told the nation that thousands of students were ‘trapped in failing government schools’ and announced that the girl was at last getting a scholarship to attend the school of her choice,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
“But Janiyah Davis already attends one of the city’s most sought-after charter schools.”
“Sen. Elizabeth Warren said that she would begin to eliminate student loan debt on the first day of her administration, using legal tools that would allow her to bypass Congress,” CNBC reports.
“Warren said she will direct her Secretary of Education to begin to ‘compromise and modify’ federal student loans up to $50,000 for 95% of those with outstanding student debt, or 42 million people.”
New York Times: “The textbooks cover the same sweeping story, from the brutality of slavery to the struggle for civil rights. The self-evident truths of the founding documents to the waves of immigration that reshaped the nation.”
“The books have the same publisher. They credit the same authors. But they are customized for students in different states, and their contents sometimes diverge in ways that reflect the nation’s deepest partisan divides.”
“Hundreds of differences — some subtle, others extensive — emerged in a New York Times analysis of eight commonly used American history textbooks in California and Texas, two of the nation’s largest markets.”
“The Student Government Association at the University of Alabama is warning groups that protesting President Trump during the Tide’s Saturday game vs. LSU could result in loss of reserved seating for the remainder of the season,” the Birmingham News reports.
President Trump is expected to be in the audience.
New York Times: “From the 12th floor of a glass office tower in the Washington suburbs, a campaign to sway the governor’s race in Kentucky on Tuesday is being waged with an alarmist claim that has little to do with the race itself: If Democrats have their way, soon boys will be able to compete against girls in school sports.”
“This scenario, presented in a pair of ads that are appearing on computer screens and smartphones across Kentucky, is the work of a little-known group funded by anonymous donors called the American Principles Project, which in recent years has focused on fighting more familiar clashes in the culture wars over same-sex marriage and abortion rights.”
“The group is limiting its work to Kentucky for now, but strategists say it has bigger ambitions. It is effectively running a pilot program for the 2020 election that will help it determine how it could use the debate over transgender rights to rally conservative voters in support of President Trump.”
“A federal judge on Thursday held Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in contempt for violating an order to stop collecting loan payments from former Corinthian Colleges students,” the Washington Post reports.
“Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco slapped the Education Department with a $100,000 fine for violating a preliminary injunction. Money from the fine will be used to compensate the 16,000 people harmed by the federal agency’s actions.”
“A senior student-loan official in the Trump administration said he would resign Thursday and endorse canceling most of the nation’s outstanding student debt, calling the student-loan system ‘fundamentally broken,'” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Wayne Johnson was appointed in 2017 by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as chief operating officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid, overseeing the $1.5 trillion student-loan portfolio. After seven months, he moved into a different role as chief strategy and transformation officer, leading a revamp of how the agency deals with borrowers and the companies that service the debt.”
“Mr. Johnson said repayment trends suggest much of the debt will likely never be repaid, and he is calling for moving toward a system that gets the government out of student lending.”
“Sen. Elizabeth Warren is calling for $800 billion in additional federal funding for public education, a move that would exhaust the remaining revenue to be raised by her proposed wealth tax even as she seeks ways to finance Medicare for All,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Ms. Warren outlined on the blog site Medium an additional $450 billion in Title I funding to boost schools with low-income students, $200 billion in grants for students with disabilities and $100 billion in other grants over 10 years. She also vowed to invest $50 billion in school infrastructure on top of existing funding for school upgrades that are in some of her other policy proposals.”
“Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos faces potential sanctions or a finding she’s in contempt of court for continuing to collect on the debt of former students at bankrupt Corinthian Colleges Inc., going so far as seizing their tax refunds and wages,” Bloomberg reports.
Said U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim: “I’m not sure if this is contempt or sanctions. I’m not sending anyone to jail yet but it’s good to know I have that ability.”
The federal security detail assigned to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is expected to cost taxpayers more than $26 million during President Trump’s first term, CNN reports.
The Trump administration is threatening to cut funding for a Middle East studies program run by the University of North Carolina and Duke University, arguing that it’s misusing a federal grant to advance “ideological priorities” and unfairly promote “the positive aspects of Islam” but not Christianity or Judaism, the AP reports.
“In one of the boldest state-led efforts to expand access to higher education, New Mexico is unveiling a plan on Wednesday to make tuition at its public colleges and universities free for all state residents, regardless of family income,” the New York Times reports.