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Trump's Education Department Picks Get Senate Committee Approval

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The Senate education committee gave the thumbs up on Thursday to three of President Donald Trump's nominees to work at the U.S. Department of Education. 

Committee members voted to send the nominations of Jim Blew, Kenneth L. Marcus, and Mick Zais to the full Senate. Blew is the nominee for assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy analysis, Marcus is the pick to be assistant secretary for civil rights, and Zais is Trump's nominee to be the deputy secretary. All three would work under Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, if they win full Senate approval. 

Blew spent many years working to expand school choice to low-income families at the Walton Family Foundation (The Walton foundation provides support to Education Week for coverage of parent engagement and involvement issues). Marcus is the president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, a Jewish civil rights advocacy group, and previously served as acting assistant secretary for civil rights at the department. Zais is the former schools chief in South Carolina and is a retired brigadier general in the Army.

Blew and Zais were pressed by Democrats about their support for school choice during their confirmation hearings in November. Marcus got grilled about his views on transgender student rights during his own December confirmation hearing.

All three must be confirmed by the full Senate before taking thier posts. The Senate confirmed Johnny Collett as the new assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services last month. 

Photo: Kenneth Marcus, the pick to lead the U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights, appears at a Senate confirmation hearing in December. (Tasos Katopodis for Education Week)

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