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The AACS Legislative Office monitors issues that affect the educational freedom and religious liberty of Christian schools.
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The Washington Flyer
December 16, 2016
 
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead; nor doth He sleep!
The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men!”
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
 
New Education Secretary and Common Core
New Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos recently reiterated her commitment to school choice and local control, particularly in the area of standards. At the recent Michigan rally during President-elect Trump’s thank-you
tour, Betsy DeVos stated, “It’s time to make education great again in this country. This means putting kids first every single day. This means expanding choices and options to give every child the opportunity for a quality education regardless of their zip code or their family circumstances. This means letting states set their own high standards and finally putting an end to the federalized common core.” The announcement of her nomination brought criticism from those who believed that she supported the controversial Common Core Standards (CCS). This assumption was based on her involvement on the boards of organizations that support the CCS. She served on the board for Jeb Bush’s organization Foundation for Excellence in Education and also on the board for Greater Lakes Education Project, both of which supported CCS along with school choice and local control. She addressed this concern immediately following her nomination, stating, “I am not a supporter. Period.” She further explained, “Have organizations that I have been a part of supported Common Core? Of course. But that’s not my position.”
     She has also
clarified her support of “voluntary high standards driven by local voices” but criticized the “federal boondoggle” that the CCS has become. While speaking at the rally in Michigan, she once again addressed her opposition to federal control of education and emphasized her strong position supporting parent decision making and school choice as methods for improving American’s educational system: “For me, it’s simple—I trust parents and I believe in our children. But it won’t be Washington, DC, that unlocks that potential. It won’t be a giant bureaucracy or a federal department. Nope. The answer isn’t bigger government. The answer is local control, its listening to parents, and its giving more choices.”
 
Aid for Christian Schools Damaged by Flood and Tornado
Two AACS member schools recently suffered extensive damage from storms that swept through their regions. Faith Christian Academy in Goldsboro, NC, suffered significant flood damage after Hurricane Matthew hit the region in October; and Fairview Christian Academy in Athens, TN, lost buildings when a tornado blew through the area in November. The AACS leadership has encouraged member schools to consider helping these two schools as they seek to rebuild. Donations sent to the
AACS National Office for this cause will be distributed, one hundred percent, to these two ministries. For more information, please visit the AACS website.
 
Don’t Miss It: National School Choice Week, January 22–28
National School Choice Week, scheduled for January 22–28, 2017, provides an opportunity to highlight the benefits of school choice programs and celebrate choice successes. Schools wishing to plan an event can order a preparation kit which provides the trademark yellow scarves, signs, and stickers.
 

Religious Liberty

AACS Joins Coalition: Preserve Freedom, Reject Coercion
The AACS has joined with a broad coalition of prominent religious leaders and institutions in signing on to a statement entitled “Preserve Freedom, Reject Coercion.” Signed by over 75 conservative leaders representing millions of Americans, the statement affirms the right of every American to live out his life peacefully in accordance with his conscience and opposes any government attacks, coercion, or censorship of fellow Americans who hold different views and beliefs. The statement deals specifically with the recent SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) battles that have increased significantly over the past decade. The statement asserts: “We affirm that every individual is created in the image of God and as such should be treated with love, compassion, and respect. We also affirm that people are created male and female, that this complementarity is the basis for the family centered on the marital union of a man and a woman, and that the family is the wellspring of human flourishing. We believe that it is imperative that our nation preserve the freedoms to speak, teach, and live out these truths in public life without fear of lawsuits or government censorship.” The full statement can be found
here.
 


Pro-Life Cause 

Ohio Governor Vetoes a Pro-life Bill, but Signs Another Into Law
Last week, the Ohio state legislature took steps to protect the unborn and passed
two pro-life bills. The first bill, commonly referred to as the “Heartbeat Bill,” contained language banning any abortion of a baby with a beating heart, which is detectable as early as six weeks into the pregnancy. Critics of the bill had pointed to certain legal challenges the bill might face, but Republican state senators were motivated to pass the legislation after the election, believing that a Trump Supreme Court appointee would uphold the strict abortion ban. However, Ohio Governor John Kasich, who historically has claimed to be pro-life, vetoed the bill on Tuesday. He defended his veto of the bill in a Veto Message, arguing that similar legislation had previously been struck down in the courts, and that the court fees, for what he saw as a losing case, would not be a good use of tax payer money. Gov. Kasich did, however, sign the second pro-life bill into law on the same day. The second bill is a measure banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with the only exception being to save the life of the mother. “I agree with Ohio Right to Life and other leading, pro-life advocates that Senate Bill 127 [the 20-week ban] is the best, most legally sound and sustainable approach to protecting the sanctity of human life," Kasich said.


 

 


In Case You Missed It:

Weekly Market Update provided by Jeff Beach of the AACS Investment Team at Merrill Lynch
 
Plan to Join the March for Life - January 27, 2017
 
House Freedom Caucus Releases "First 100 Days" Listing Regulations, Rules, and EO's Trump Should Revoke








 
American Association of Christian Schools
Jamison Coppola: Legislative Director
Maureen Van Den Berg: Policy Analyst

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