A few days ago, right before the Easter holiday, when no one was paying attention, Betsy DeVos, our public education hating Secretary of Education, announced that she’d be bringing on a 39-year-old attorney by the name of Candice Jackson to be her deputy assistant secretary in the Office for Civil Rights. Here, if you’re unfamiliar with Jackson, who, for what it’s worth, considers herself to be a victim of discrimination, having been turned away from a tutoring program at Stanford intended for minority students, is a clip from ProPublica.
…Although her limited background in civil rights law makes it difficult to infer her positions on specific issues, Jackson’s writings during and after college suggest she’s likely to steer one of the Education Department’s most important — and controversial — branches in a different direction than her predecessors. A longtime anti-Clinton activist and an outspoken conservative-turned-libertarian, she has denounced feminism and race-based preferences. She’s also written favorably about, and helped edit a book by, an economist who decried both compulsory education and the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Jackson’s inexperience, along with speculation that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will roll back civil rights enforcement, lead some observers to wonder whether Jackson, like several other Trump administration appointees, lacks sympathy for the traditional mission of the office she’s been chosen to lead…
And I’m sure I don’t need to tell you this once again, but it’s absolutely no coincidence that the administration has chosen an anti public education activist to run the Department of Education, a man who once said he wanted to destroy the Department of Energy to run that agency, and a climate change denier to run the EPA. This is all being done by design. As Steve Bannon told us himself, his agenda is the “deconstruction of the administrative state,” and there’s no faster way to achieve that than by handing agencies over to those who have vowed to destroy them. As Bannon himself said at CPAC this past winter, “If you look at these Cabinet nominees, they were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction.” And, with that as the objective, putting Candice Jackson, someone who has demonstrated a clear disdain for civil rights in her life, in charge of defending the civil rights of our youngest and most vulnerable citizens, makes perfect sense.
Jackson is to civil rights what Scott Pruitt is to global warming. She’s a civil rights denier. And, like Pruitt, she’s been given this job to do as much damage as possible to her institution.
For what it’s worth, while Jackson will technically be the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office for Civil Rights, she’ll actually be serving as Secretary, as DeVos has yet to hire anyone in that role. If I were the suspicious type, I’d say that this was done by design, as the Secretary position requires Senate confirmation, whereas the Deputy Assistant Secretary position does not. In other words, this was an end run around the Senate to place someone absolutely unqualified for the job in the position as Secretary. [As the acting head of the department, Jackson will be in charge of about 550 full-time staff.]
So, if you’re a white student who has a grievance, now’s the chance you’ve been waiting for… Did you lose a school election to a Hispanic classmate? Did someone tell you that you weren’t allowed to wear a “white power” t-shirt to school? Were you made uncomfortable by a discussion in History class about slavery? Well, you might find a sympathetic ear at the new Office of Civil Rights.
Oh, and while Jackson doesn’t have any experience when it comes to civil rights, unless you count ranting about how civil rights protections are unfair to white Americans, she does have some experience running an organization. Apparently, prior to taking this position, Jackson ran an organization dedicated to telling the stories of women “abused” by Hillary Clinton called the “Their Lives Foundation”. She is also the author of the 2005 book, “Their Lives: The Women Targeted by the Clinton Machine.”
And, yes, this is why we fought so hard to keep Betsy DeVos from the Department of Education.