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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 3, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 05
Bad to worse: Trump names Jerry Falwell Jr. to head 'education reform' task force
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Bad to worse: Trump names Jerry Falwell Jr. to head 'education reform' task force

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Jerry Falwell Jr., who inherited his daddy's religious right empire, announced on January 31 that he has been named by Donald Trump to head a new task force on education reform.

Falwell said in November that he'd been offered the post of Secretary of Education - which ultimately went to Betsy DeVos - but had declined because he wanted to remain president of Liberty University, the fundamentalist school founded by his father, Jerry Sr.

Falwell reportedly met DeVos for the first time at a service in Washington's National Cathedral and came away impressed. He told reporters he would do his best to help her do her job at the Department of Education.

'The task force will be a big help to her,' Falwell said. 'It will do some of the work for her.'

The mission of the new task force has not been announced, but DeVos is known to favor privatization of schools.

In an interview, Falwell said his job would be to reverse what he called 'overreaching regulation' and micromanagement by the Department of Education in a number of areas - accreditation and policies that affect colleges' student recruitment, for example.

'The goal is to pare it back and give colleges and their accrediting agencies more leeway in governing their affairs,' Falwell said.

He added that he'd been discussing possible 'reforms' with other college leaders and at least one accrediting agency since Trump's election.

'I've got notebooks full of issues,' he said.

In addition to sticking to Daddy Falwell's anti-LGBT politics, Junior Falwell is also a gun rights advocate.

In 2015, shortly after the San Bernardino mass shootings, he told a Liberty University convocation that if 'some of those people had got what I have in my back pocket right now,' the shooting would not have happened.

'[I]f more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them,' he added.

Falwell was one of the first evangelical leaders to endorse Trump, whom he compared to Winston Churchill. Other religious leaders were skeptical at the time but were won over as Trump started to win Republican primaries.

Liberty University takes in over $800 million every year from federal grants and loans to students.

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