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Paxton asks the feds if they’re sure about that bathroom thing

Just checking, I’m sure.

Best mugshot ever

Best mugshot ever

Will public schools really lose federal education funding if they refuse to comply with a new Obama administration directive regarding transgender students?

That’s the basic query posed by top lawyers from Texas, Oklahoma and West Virginia in a letter sent Tuesday to the U.S. Justice and Education departments seeking clarification on the directive, which advises the nation’s public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.

The guidance, issued Friday by those agencies, came days after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called for the resignation of the Fort Worth ISD superintendent for implementing similar rules designed to help educators abide by an updated nondiscrimination policy.

Attorney General Ken Paxton has already threatened legal action over the directive, which does not have the force of law but seeks to clarify how federal agencies may interpret relevant statutes and an entity’s compliance.

In Tuesday’s letter, Paxton and the two other state attorneys general ask whether entities receiving federal funding must “follow this ‘significant guidance’ in order to be in compliance with Title IX” — the federal law governing gender equity in education — “and/or entitled to continued receipt of federal funding?”

“Do circumstances exist in which you would consider a school still in compliance with Title IX despite non-compliance with these guidelines?” the letter asks. “If so, please describe those circumstances and whether you would take steps to recoup or end federal funding.”

Texas receives more than $5 billion per year in federal education funding, which it uses for free-and-reduced lunch and other programs designed to help needy children.

Last week, Patrick said he was willing to forgo that money and urged Texas superintendents to resist pressure from the federal government to follow the directive.

See here, here, and here for the background. I can’t imagine Paxton will get the answer he wants to hear, so I assume this is just laying groundwork for the threatened litigation. The Chron and Daily Kos have more.

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  1. Bill Daniels says:

    The federal money for education is not actually for education, rather, for free meals? Oh, this is great. I’d love to be the one to explain to those kids why they aren’t getting fed because the guy their parents voted for (assuming the parents are legal, BTW) withheld those meals until boys were allowed to shower with the girls.

    Remember all those black pastors that opposed the HERO? This would be the HERO fight on steroids. I personally cannot wait for the showdown. And the best part is, those irresponsible parents might actually have to feed their own kids for a while. This whole thing is chock full of win!

  2. voter_worker says:

    This recent Politico article provides context for the current iteration of the bathroom wars. I was not familiar with any of this and it makes the situation we’re in now more comprehensible, if not any less absurd.

  3. Brad M says:

    Bill, this game of fill in the blank is fun.

    “Oh, this is great. I’d love to be the one to explain to those kids why they aren’t getting” ___an education___ “because the guy their parents voted for” ____is a Republican who has eradicated state funding for education ___ .

    My precinct, which is 80-85% Republican, is full of folks complaining about state funding of education, yet refuse to connect the dots between state legislation and the Republicans they vote into office year in and year out.

  4. Kenneth Fair says:

    It looks to me that Paxton et al. want the DoE to confirm the states will lose their educational funding, so that they can file suit against the feds in a friendly forum.

  5. […] all know why that’s true, right? Paxton had previously sent a letter to the feds asking for some “clarifications” on the directive, which was clearly some laying of […]