Home­land Se­cu­rity nom­i­nee needs ‘no on-the-job train­ing’

The Detroit News - - Front Page - From Detroit News wire ser­vices

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Thurs­day in­tro­duced his choice to lead the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, a for­mer staffer at the sprawl­ing post-9/11 fed­eral agency who he says will need “no on-the-job train­ing” for the lead role.

Trump also called on Con­gress to “put pol­i­tics aside” and con­firm deputy White House chief of staff Kirst­jen Nielsen by a “strong, bi­par­ti­san vote.”

But even be­fore Trump had for­mally an­nounced Nielsen’s ap­point­ment dur­ing an East Room cer­e­mony at­tended by much of the Cabi­net and se­nior mem­bers of the White House staff, at least one con­gres­sional Demo­crat said her role dur­ing Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina should be scru­ti­nized.

The Sen­ate must con­firm Nielsen’s nom­i­na­tion.

At least one Demo­cratic con­gress­man said the Sen­ate should scru­ti­nize Nielsen’s role dur­ing Ka­t­rina. “I am very con­cerned about her past work in the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion dur­ing its botched re­sponse to Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina,” said Rep. Ben­nie G. Thomp­son, D-Miss.

DeVos touts school pri­or­i­ties

Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Betsy DeVos has an­nounced a set of pri­or­i­ties for states and schools com­pet­ing for fed­eral grant money.

The ar­eas of fo­cus, out­lined in a state­ment on Wed­nes­day, range from school choice to sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy to spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion to school safety.

The depart­ment dis­trib­utes hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in grants each year, and ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­taries have his­tor­i­cally used th­ese com­pe­ti­tions to push their pri­or­i­ties.

School choice, or the pro­mo­tion of char­ter schools and pri­vate school voucher pro­grams as an al­ter­na­tive to district schools, has been a fo­cus of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

There are a to­tal of 11 pri­or­i­ties on DeVos’ list. Af­ter re­ceiv­ing pub­lic com­ments on th­ese pro­pos­als, the agency will set­tle on one or sev­eral of them, ac­cord­ing to the state­ment.

U.S., Is­rael to exit UNESCO

The United States an­nounced Thurs­day it is pulling out of the U.N.’s ed­u­ca­tional, sci­en­tific and cul­tural agency be­cause of what Wash­ing­ton sees as its anti-Is­rael bias and a need for “fun­da­men­tal re­form” in the agency.

Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu said Is­rael plans to fol­low suit.

While the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion had been pre­par­ing for a likely with­drawal from UNESCO for months, the tim­ing of the State Depart­ment’s state­ment was un­ex­pected. The Paris-based agency’s ex­ec­u­tive board is in the midst of choos­ing a new chief — with Qatar’s Ha­mad bin Ab­du­laziz al-Kawari lead­ing the heated elec­tion head­ing into Fri­day’s fi­nal vote.

Out­go­ing Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral Irina Bokova ex­pressed “pro­found re­gret” at the U.S. de­ci­sion and tried to de­fend UNESCO’s rep­u­ta­tion.

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