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Education

Nance in Townhall: The One Area Where Youngkin Should Follow Former Govs. McAuliffe and Northam’s Lead

By | Defense of Family, Education, News and Events | No Comments

Parents’ rights in education won Glenn Youngkin (Republican) the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election. Now, in order to live up to the promises of his campaign and turn the tide of Virginia’s leftward lurch in the education system, Governor-Elect Youngkin should follow the lead of his predecessors. He must appoint stalwart members to Virginias Higher-ed institutions governing boards who will stand up for the rights and interests of the people who voted for him.

Read the latest from Penny Nance, Concerned Women for America’s CEO and President, entitled “The One Area Where Youngkin Should Follow Former Govs. McAuliffe and Northam’s Lead” in Townhall Opinion here.

CWA Stands with Religious School and Parents

By | Defense of Family, Education, News and Events | No Comments

Today, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Carson v. Makin. The case involves a Maine tuition assistance program that discriminates against religious institutions. As Concerned Women for America (CWA) explains in its brief, the case involves serious violations of religious freedoms. The program takes important educational decisions away from families in Maine, treating parents who desire a religious education for their children like second-class citizens.

CWA CEO and President Penny Nance said:

“This state infringes on foundational constitutional rights by denying tuition assistance based on a family’s desire to raise their children according to their faith. Maine’s law seeks to remove religious institutions from the education choices of parents and families who reside there. Parents should have freedom when it comes to their children’s education, whether secular or religious.

“A school’s eligibility to receive funds should not be contingent on the educational institution’s religious beliefs. The state of Maine should honor funds promised in the tuition assistance program regardless of the educational choice of the parent.”

Nance in Fox News: Hey Joe Biden and Democrats, leave our kids and childcare alone

By | Defense of Family, Education, News and Events | No Comments

In recent years, the American system of self-governance has shifted to an all-powerful watchdog that seeks to control every aspect of its people’s lives. But it may have just taken its most egregious overstep: a federal power grab to control childcare.

Read the latest from Penny Nance, Concerned Women for America’s CEO and President, entitled “Hey Joe Biden and Democrats, leave our kids and childcare alone” in Fox News Opinion here.

Rulemaking Is Your Chance to Make an Impact

By | Education, National Sovereignty, News and Events, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

Use your voice to help Concerned Women for America hold the line against the Biden Administration’s aggressive, pro-abortion, anti-American agenda. Action items below.


The Biden Administration is rapidly translating President Biden’s radical and far-reaching agenda into new federal rulemaking. The goal of these proposed rules is to enshrine President Biden’s executive orders into regulations that will dictate the terms for federal programs. Where Executive Orders and Dear Colleague letters have limits, federal regulations offer legitimacy and permanency.

Federal rulemaking requires an administrative process established by law that includes a comment period of at least 30 days where the American public can weigh in on the proposed rules.  A federal agency must review all comments and adapt them in revising and finalizing any rule. Public comments that are not sufficiently taken into account can be used to challenge the final outcome. Rules stay in force until comparable action is taken to make changes.

It is vital that concerned citizens voice their position by commenting on proposed rules. Whereas letters to Congress are critical to influence members’ votes on legislation, comments through rulemaking are how citizens can impact the actions of the executive branch. This is perhaps the most significant way your voice counts in policymaking under the Biden Administration.

President Biden wants to overturn the progress made by the Trump administration in federal rulemaking, especially in the area of pro-life policy. He also wants to force progressive mandates across all federal agencies and programs, including redefining sex as gender identity, not biology, and forcing critical race theory and training in education, health care, law enforcement, and more.

Two proposed rules on these subjects with deadlines in mid-May have been published that provide a vital opportunity for your input. Our CWA Action Center provides the information, bullet points, and avenue you need to write a comment and submit it to the Federal Register.

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Proposed Rule revoking Trump’s 2019 Title X rule to reinstate Planned Parenthood, remove separation from abortion requirements, and encourage abortion counseling and referral.
    COMMENT HERE
    Deadline: May 17, 2021
  2. U.S. Department of Education Proposed Rule requiring 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory curriculum priorities in federal American History and Civics Education grants
    COMMENT HERE
    Deadline: May 19, 2021

Please be counted in opposition to each of these proposed rules by submitting a comment today.

education students

Trump Orders Emergency Learning Scholarships

By | Education, Legislative Updates, News and Events | No Comments

As 2020 Ends and Schools Stay Closed, President Trump Orders Emergency Learning Scholarships to Offer Hope in the New Year  

COVID-19 caused many public schools to stay closed for most of 2020, creating mounting hardships for American students and their ability to continue learning effectively, especially those in difficult circumstances. Building on his past actions to help support students, President Trump closed out the year by signing an Executive Order “to ensure the education, health, safety, and well-being of America’s children, our most essential resource upon which the future of our great Nation depends.”

Under the Executive Order on Expanding Educational Opportunity Through School Choice, President Trump is seeking to protect American students who need in-person learning options from prolonged school closures. Despite providing $13 billion in federal support for K-12 schools to safely resume in-person learning earlier this year, more than half of all public-school students began school remotely this fall. The lack of in-person learning is showing the greatest harm among low-income students and students with disabilities.

As noted in the President’s order, research and surveys conducted through the pandemic have revealed many sobering results:

  • Students’ math progress in low-income neighborhoods decreased by nearly 50 percent, and those from middle-income neighborhoods fell by almost a third.
  • Eighty percent of children with special needs are not receiving the services and supports to which they are entitled, and approximately 40 percent of children with special needs are receiving no services or supports.
  • Educators found student absences, including from virtual learning, have nearly doubled during the pandemic.

Analysts are projecting now that if in-person learning does not resume fully in the new year, low-income students will lose over a year of learning.

To help mitigate this harm, President Trump wants to provide “emergency learning scholarships,” offering direct support to disadvantaged families with K-12 students. Under the order, the President instructs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to act consistently with law to allow funds available through the Community Services Block Grant program to be used for emergency learning scholarships for any eligible child lacking access to in-person schooling. As outlined, these scholarships may be used for: tuition and fees for a private or parochial school; homeschool, micro-school, or learning-pod costs; special education and related services, including therapies; or tutoring or remedial education.

The President declares, “I am committed to ensuring that all children of our great Nation have access to the educational resources they need to obtain a high-quality education and to improving students’ safety and well-being, including by empowering families with emergency learning scholarships.”

With teachers’ unions standing in the way of expanding parental choice and educational options for students, we hope the President’s closing act of 2020 will be the ticket to freedom many families have been hoping for in the new year.

Safety First Online Starts at Home

By | Education, Legislative Updates, News and Events, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

By Amy Lidell, Intern for Concerned Women for America

Last week the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) partnered with the White House, Justice Department, and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to host a live stream webinar promoting online safety for children. Ivanka Trump and Attorney General William Barr opened the webinar voicing their support for the safety movement while outlining some of the risks children face online.

Screen time in 2020 increased significantly as a result of the required social distancing connected to the coronavirus pandemic, and online enticement is up by a minimum of 20 percent. Attorney General Barr voiced his concern for the amplified dependency on technology for social interaction, stating, “Unfortunately, the same technology that connects us with family and friends also provides predators with a pathway back into our homes and can be used for strangers who want to target, groom, and sexually exploit our children.”  Internet safety is more important than ever. We are all harmed when children are exploited online.

Safety First promotes a culture of safety over a value of privacy for online predators. An individual’s privacy cannot take priority over a child’s online vulnerability. Ivanka Trump discussed the importance of standing behind sexual assault victims and allowing their voices to be heard while becoming proactive in preventing online exploitation from happening in American homes. DHS Chief Chad Wolf added that proactive conversations with kids about online safety make them less vulnerable.

NCMEC leaders spoke on ways to successfully direct difficult conversations with kids of all ages about online activity. They showed that the earlier these conversations take place within a family, the more likely parents successfully prevent online enticement, sexting, sextortion, and any other inappropriate interaction with strangers or predators.

NCMEC has provided fun, age-appropriate workbooks on its website to provide parents and teachers an outlet to teach kids about online safety. These workbooks help navigate uncomfortable discussions about saying no to online strangers and avoiding traps used by predators to lure kids into inappropriate correspondence. Physical contact is not needed for an online offender, and it is alarming how direct predator requests become towards a child when direct action is not taken immediately.

We encourage you to learn more about the Safety First movement and join Concerned Women for America in taking the NCMEC Safety Pledge to continue learning how to be critical role models for kids through your online activity, presence, and conversation.

It’s Final! Education Rule Aims to Protect Free Speech for Faith-Based College Groups

By | Education, Legislative Updates, News and Events | No Comments

The U.S. Department of Education has finalized a significant rule to secure free speech and equal access rights for faith-based groups on public college campuses and shield them from discrimination. Earlier this year, Concerned Women for America (CWA) galvanized over 1000 comments in strong support of this rule, which will take effect officially this fall.   

The final rule implements the President’s Executive Order 13864, Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, Accountability at Colleges and Universities.  It will “ensure that public institutions of higher education uphold fundamental rights guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, including protections for freedom of speech, association, press, religion, assembly, petition, and academic freedom, and that private institutions adhere to their stated institutional policies regarding freedom of speech, including academic freedom.”

These protections are long overdue at the college level. Imagine being falsely told your First Amendment rights under the Constitution do not apply on a public college campus.  That has been the reality for many college students and faith-based clubs on campuses across the country.

Religious clubs, of all faiths, are entitled to the same rights and privileges of any group on a public college campus, but that is not always how it plays out. Many faith-based clubs have been prohibited from having any requirement that their club leadership share the organization’s values and beliefs. They have also been denied equal access to university resources that are given to other campus groups.

The U.S. Department of Education’s final rule on Religious Liberty and Free Inquiry accomplishes through the Executive Branch the goal of the Equal Campus Access Act. This religious freedom rule will ensure public college students and clubs retain their First Amendment rights on public college campuses, extending protections to college students similar to those enacted into law in 1984 for public high school students. Students can know their rights are assured under this rule, and any violation should be reported immediately to the U.S. Department of Education for action.

Under the Constitution, students do not lose their First Amendment rights when they walk through the doors of a university.  Clubs of all faiths bring vibrancy and diversity of belief, opinion, and experience, creating a more robust university environment to engage in the free exchange of ideas. That is at the heart of what a university is meant to be.

The Education Department’s final rule adds to the many accomplishments of the Trump Administration to protect religious liberty and end discrimination against faith-based individuals and entities across the federal government, including in education, health care, adoption, employment, and internationally.

The Old-School Tactics of Teachers Unions May Not Survive COVID-19

By | Education, Legislative Updates, News and Events | No Comments

Across the country, millions of families are faced with cobbling together strategies to make a new school year work. In many places, schools could have been working on better solutions, or at least not resisting them. Legislators could have helped by expanding educational options for students and providing the financial support to follow.

Liberals have stood on the wrong side of education reform for decades. Backers of a Biden presidency should know the tide will turn against supporting families with greater choice in education, even during a pandemic.

In many politically liberal school districts, public schools have gone into virtual retreat instead of working overtime to find non-traditional solutions. Creative minds could think of many possibilities:  grouping smaller cohorts of students, alternating schedules, ensuring students with special needs receive on-site services. In some places, this is happening. Other districts, however, spent the entire summer in limbo and defaulted to “virtual” learning which most recognize was a real failure in the spring,

This has left many working parents in a lurch, including those in my Northern Virginia community.

Parents are concerned about health, but they are also scrambling for strategies. They are the ones getting creative since their school administrators aren’t. Districts run by left-leaning school boards have started warning against innovative pod learning, even shaming parents against such alternatives in the name of “equity.”  Here’s what Virginia’s Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) said in a Message for Parents on Tutoring Pods:

“While FCPS doesn’t and can’t control these private tutoring groups, we do have concerns that they may widen the gap in educational access and equity for all students. Many parents cannot afford private instruction. Many working families can’t provide transportation to and from a tutoring pod, even if they could afford to pay for the service.”

Knowing parents are desperate for options, FCPS has figured out how it can use the crisis to its financial advantage. A number of schools will offer paid childcare for elementary-aged students charging parents up to $1500 a month for the privilege of sending their students through the schoolhouse door.

Entrepreneurial parents might soon find that other educational options are more effective than the traditional schools – more time on fact-based academic learning, and none on feelings-based self-awareness lessons and gender unicorns. They might just start to question the value of their local tax dollars going to these agenda-driven government-run schools.

The National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have resisted returning to class and undermined strategies to cope with school closures, exposing how the liberal establishment stands guard over an old-world education order. Their vocal opposition sounds tone-deaf to the realities of the current crisis for families. If the priority was on educating students, they would be cheering for solutions, not posting threats about learning pods widening the divide between “have and have nots” (which only underscores why schools should be opening their doors).

These old-school tactics have long been apparent. Anything that threatens the power of the teachers’ unions threatens their existence. They are enemies of expanding educational choice because they hold monopoly power over government-run schools. They attack educational scholarship programs, even ones that give low-income parents the chance to send their kids to a higher-performing school because competition would cut into their job security.

Based on voter attitudes, the NEA and AFT might be losing their grip. Their response to the current pandemic could be exposing this fear.

Black and Latino parents support the concept of school vouchers because all parents hope to give their kids the best shot at academic success. A poll  commissioned by the American Federation of Children shows the continuing strong trend that “a broad and deep coalition of voters back school choice.”  Sixty -nine percent, including 82 percent of Latinos and 68 percent of blacks, supported giving  “parents the right to use the tax dollars designated for their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school which best serves their needs.”

For educators more interested in power than their profession, being separated from students by a computer screen instead of supervising them in person might be an added incentive to keep remote learning going as long as possible – all the more reason why the collective power of the teachers’ unions and the monopoly of government-run education should be reimagined while disruption is the norm. It’s time to overrule the old-world order in favor of an excellence-based, pandemic-flexible, family-friendly, 21st-century education system.

Doreen Denny is Vice President of Government Relations, Concerned Women for America

Whether or Not Schools Reopen, Families Need Choices

By | Education, Legislative Updates, News and Events | No Comments

Back to School is here, and it seems we are back to where we ended – struggling to adapt to continued uncertainty without the luxury of time on our side.  Students can ill afford to lose another semester, let alone another year.

Among the important developments of the coronavirus pandemic is the growing realization of why choice in education really matters. Now is the time to make the shift to a lasting environment of school choice that gives parents the capacity to opt into or opt out of the school setting that works for their children and their circumstances and the means to make it work.

The primacy of student well-being and effective learning dictates that in-person education cannot be a luxury for most.  Families are getting creative in how to make education possible if the schools are not going to open, and they deserve greater access and control over the money we pour into education from the local to the federal levels.

Information from the President’s team underscores the importance of the real issues that parents need to consider:

“Failure to offer in-person classes could harm students’ development, especially those in disadvantaged communities.  Nationwide, nearly 30 million American students rely on schools for free or reduced meals.   More than 70% of children receiving mental health services do so at school, and nearly all therapies for children with intellectual or physical disabilities are performed at school.”

The Trump Administration is also aware that families need the flexibility to weigh decisions before them:

“It is vital that parents be allowed to weigh both the benefits and risks of sending their child back to school, including the level of community spread and the makeup of their household, especially for multi-generational households.”

That is why President Trump’s emphasis on encouraging schools to reopen safely coupled with proposals to expand the educational choices of families need action now.  Specifically, President Trump is calling for legislation to ensure that schools have the funding and incentives they need to safely reopen this fall and empower families with school choice.

“To encourage schools to make in-person classes available this fall, the President is requesting $105 billion in education funding as part of the next coronavirus relief bill—$70 billion of which will directly support K-12 education. Approximately $35 billion of the $70 billion will be reserved for schools that reopen.  If schools do not reopen, funding should follow students so parents can send their child to the private, charter, religious, or home school of their choice.”

The School Choice Now Act, introduced by Sens. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), provides a mechanism for giving scholarships to students for use at the school setting of their choice, including home-based schooling, and includes robust protections for schools and families to operate free of government intrusion that could compromise their mission or beliefs.

Families are being faced with unprecedented obligations to assume primary responsibility for keeping their children engaged and learning.  The fragility of the public-school system, including how teacher unions can hold it hostage, is being exposed.  The shortcomings of traditional ways of delivering education in a technological age that intensifies the divide between have and have-nots is more obvious than ever.   We cannot afford limping along for another year in the same way we saw last year limp to a close.

In a pandemic age, education must be adaptable.  If teacher unions are going to prevent public schools from reopening, then now is the time to allow greater access and investment in our private, faith-centered, and home-based schools.   President Trump’s focus is on target:  giving parents the means to consider better options and the choice to take them.

Religious Bigotry Law Rejected by Supreme Court, Despite Liberal Justices Objections

By | Blog, Education, LBB, News and Events, Press Releases, Religious Liberty, SCOTUS | No Comments

Washington, D.C.— In a 5-4 decision in Espinoza v. Montana Dept. of Revenue, the United States Supreme Court invalidated a Montana law that targeted religious institutions for discrimination. Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), the largest public policy organization for women in the nation, had this to say:

“We applaud the Supreme Court’s majority today for recognizing that Montana’s exclusion of religious schools from the state scholarship program violates the U.S. Constitution. Tax dollars should not be used in such a blatant discriminatory way. The First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause is clear, no law should aim to punish Americans for the free exercise of their faith.

“What is concerning is that all four of the liberal justices of the Court are fully on board with that type of religious discrimination. Shame on them. This should have been a unanimous decision. It is as simple as they come.

“Americans should beware of how close we are to losing our religious liberties in our country. Come election time, CWA member from around the country will make sure people know what is at stake when it comes to the courts.

“We have made progress, but there is much more work to be done.”

CWA Thanks Secretary of Education

By | Blog, CEO, Education, Legislative Updates, News and Events, Sexual Exploitation, Women's Sports | No Comments

Cute Filipina Female Athlete

As we recognize the 48th Anniversary of Title IX this week, Penny Nance sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos encouraging decisive action to enforce Title IX’s mandate of equal opportunity and protection on the basis of biological sex, including for female athletes.  She also requested action on CWA’s civil rights complaints against two universities for violating the Title IX rights of female college athletes because they rostered male athletes identifying as women to compete on their women’s teams, winning conference and national championships:

“On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of women supporters of Concerned Women for America (CWA) around the nation, I want to thank you and the Trump Administration for the Department of Education’s (ED) support to protect female student-athletes under Title IX. We also write to urge you to take proactive measures to ensure consistency, equality, and fair play in every athletics department in every educational institution across the country…

“CWA currently has two complaints before ED’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), where two institutions (Franklin Pierce University and the University of Montana) have engaged in blatant violations of Title IX protections for female student-athletes by allowing biological men to compete on women’s teams in athletic competitions, inflicting irreparable inequity and injury to their college careers…

“The battle to protect the integrity and fairness of women’s sports is ground zero in the fight for women’s rights. As mothers, daughters, granddaughters, sisters all, we urge you to heed our plea to stand firmly for our rights as women and take bold actions to ensure Title IX is protected at every level of education in our country.”

Read the entire letter to Secretary DeVos here.

Recent Dept. of Educ. Ruling: CT Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s (CIAC) Policy Allowing Biological Males to Compete in Women’s Sports Violates Title IX

By | Blog, Connecticut, Education, Feminist / Women's Issues, Legislative Updates, News and Events, Sexual Exploitation, Women's Sports | No Comments

CWA’s Vice President of Government Relations appeared on Washington Watch with Tony Perkins to discuss the recent Department of Education ruling that the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s (CIAC) policy allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports violates Title IX. She was featured along with Christiana Holcomb, Legal Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom.

Listen to the Entire Show Here and Hear Doreen Beginning at 36:30:

CWA socialism lesson

The Truth About Socialism Lesson 1

By | Blog, CWAACP, Education, International, National Sovereignty, News and Events, Socialism | No Comments

 

Do you want to understand what socialism is and how it impacts society? Or, how to respond to socialist promises like – Free Stuff! – healthcare and college? This lessons by Concerned Women for America’s Vice President of International Affairs Dr. Shea Garrison will help you understand why this seemingly benign philosophy has been disastrous wherever it has been implemented. This is part 1 in a series presented by the CWA Academy for Conservative Principles.

Click here for a digital copy of the booklet referenced in the lesson.

Will Christians Become Outcasts at Public Universities?

By | Blog, Education, Family Issues, News and Events, Religious Liberty, Social / Cultural Issues, Uncategorized | No Comments

Our CEO and President, Penny Nance and Cathy Ruse, JD, Senior Legal Fellow for the Family Research Council partnered together to write an opinion article for The Christian Post about the impacts of liberal indoctrination and ‘gender fluidity’ on college campuses.

“We are Christian women, mothers of college students and college-bound children, who have serious concerns about how the “gender fluidity” movement has taken root at public schools and universities.

The idea that gender is fluid and self-determined, as opposed to biologically determined, has been germinating for decades. But today it has grown into a multi-million dollar political cause that threatens the privacy, safety, and religious freedom of all students, and especially women.

One of us, Penny Nance, President and CEO of Concerned Women for America (CWA), in a recent op-ed, gave a first hand account of how students, beginning at orientation, are being indoctrinated into this anti-Christian ideology at Virginia Tech (VT), the hard science school of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The response was overwhelming. CWA received emails from many VT students, parents, employees, professors, alumni, and state elected officials upset about the indoctrination.  Many complained of coercive “diversity training” and policies.  Some students reported fear of reprisal, and some school employees fear job loss. Many feel bullied into silence and believe their First Amendment rights are being infringed. The school is opening itself up to a variety of lawsuits.

VT’s response has been to post their mantra regarding civility, saying students were not forced to share their pronouns. But coercion comes in many forms, and the pressure is palpable. It is sad to say, but if you express traditional Christian beliefs at VT, you will be left outside of the community. Of course, VT is far from alone in this new woke trajectory.”

Read the Entire Article Here:

CWA’s 40th Anniversary Gala and the Equal Campus Access Act

By | Blog, Education, News and Events | No Comments

CWA’s 40th Anniversary Gala and the Equal Campus Access Act:  CWA’s Legislative Strategist, Ashley Traficant talks with Tamara Scott on Truth For Our Time. The two discuss Concerned Women for America’s 40th Anniversary Gala celebration festivities. They also discuss CWALAC’s recent lobbying efforts on Equal Campus Access Act. Watch and Listen below.

Senate Actions on Education Bills

By | Education, Legislative Updates, News and Events, Senate Legislative Updates | No Comments

Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) is targeting support on education legislation towards the Student Empowerment Act, S. 157 and the Equal Campus Access Act, S. 1168. CWALAC is ensuring that your voice is heard so that families have the flexibility to spend money they’ve saved for their children’s education to best fit their children’s individual needs and to make sure religious groups don’t have to worry about losing First Amendment rights when they step onto a college campus. Currently, we are working on getting more cosponsors in the Senate for both bills.

The Student Empowerment Act, H.R. 621, enables parents to spend the money they have set aside for their children’s education in a way that best meets the individual needs of each child. It allows the money to be spent on K-12 educational expenses like educational therapies for children with disabilities, tutoring, testing fees, book, tuition, and more, to be paid from a 529 savings account, regardless of if that child is in public, private, religious, or homeschool institutions.

The Student Empowerment Act was initially included in the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement, or the Secure Act, and unanimously approved by the House Ways and Means Committee. But the Student Empowerment Act was taken out of the base bill by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the request of the teachers’ unions. Despite Pelosi’s action on the bill, members on both sides of the aisle, as demonstrated by the Ways and Means Committee, understand parents know their child best and deserve the flexibility to tailor services to their child’s unique specifications. The bill, introduced by Senator Cruz (R-Texas), is currently with the Senate Finance Committee. We have sent a letter of support to the Senate Finance Committee, as well as a request for cosponsors to the entire Senate. Currently, our efforts are focused on getting more cosponsors.

The Equal Campus Access Act, introduced by Senator Blunt (R-Missouri), ensures that faith-based student groups have the same rights and protections as other student organizations at public colleges and universities. This bill protects First Amendment liberties for the students who have lost access to rights, benefits, and privileges for their clubs. Thirty-one states have known incidences where religious student organizations lost those rights”. Public universities do not have the power to repress the First Amendment rights of its students. This bill also affirms the right of faith-based organizations to require a leader to adhere to their club’s beliefs. This allows those organizations to have a faith-based leader without repercussions.

The Supreme Court affirmed the Equal Access Act as constitutional in 1984 in the 8-1 decision Mergens v. Board of Education. The decision stated public schools cannot discriminate against religious extracurricular clubs. The Equal Campus Access Act is merely an expansion from public high schools to college campuses. This is not the promotion of religion by public universities; it is the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion. Public universities must only treat religious students and clubs equally to other students and clubs—no more, no less. The latest action regarding this bill is that it has been referred to the committee on Health, Labor and Pensions, otherwise known as the HELP Committee. We are lobbying Senators to cosponsor this bill and partnering with coalition organizations to demonstrate a multi-faith front of support to the Senate.

These actions taken by Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee aim to protect the children of every parent and help ensure First Amendment rights. We need you and your voice to be heard to make sure these bills pass. Please encourage your senators to cosponsor both the Student Empowerment Act (S. 157) and the Campus Equal Access Act (S. 1168).