Sessions also harshly criticized the Individuals With Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) in a 2000 speech on the Senate floor. IDEA protects the education of children with special needs, ensuring they receive appropriate resources, help, and evaluations. In his speech, Sessions denounced the behavioral issues he said IDEA allowed to proliferate and said the law “may be the single most irritating problem for teachers throughout America today.” He argued IDEA—which has since been amended— permits children with disabilities “to commit crimes, to disrupt classrooms, to curse teachers, principals and students, and abuse them, and do so with impunity.”
Additionally, during his confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Sessions said Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which was developed by the Obama administration and offers temporary deportation relief to some young people, including many students, is constitutionally objectionable. He said the Department of Justice would have no issue ending the program should he be confirmed. DACA grants recipients work authorization and has helped many students gain access to in-state tuition at their local public universities.
Tom Price - Nominated for U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services
The Administration for Children and Families wields significant control over early-childhood-development policy and is housed under the Department of Health and Human Services. If the Senate confirms him as secretary, Tom Price will have influence over funding for Head Start, which provides early-childhood education to low-income children; the Children’s Bureau’s welfare initiatives; and federal foster-care dollars, among other areas.
During his eight-year tenure as a state senator and representative in Georgia, and then as a representative in Congress since 2005, Price had a limited record on education issues. However, some of his other positions could reveal what is in store if he becomes the Health and Human Services secretary. He voted against paid parental leave for federal employees, relevant given the fact that the department handles grants related to responsible parenting. Additionally, he introduced a bill in 2009 to repeal the Emergency Fund of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, another area that would come under his jurisdiction. Price also opposed a bill to expand health care for children, a move in line with his conservative approach to welfare.
Rex Tillerson - Nominated for U.S. Secretary of State
The State Department runs a number of federally funded study-abroad programs and initiatives, and State Secretary-nominee Rex Tillerson’s chance to either roll back or increase money to these areas could have a significant effect on American students interested in studying overseas. Not only does the State Department fund grants like the Fulbright Scholarship, but it is also home to the broader Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which facilitates cultural-exchange programs. ExxonMobil, which Tillerson lead for a decade, sponsors corporate cultural-exchange programs and offers international scholarships for students around the world.