‘March for Our Lives’ students make nationwide voter push

 In Politics

With help from Mel Leonor

‘MARCH FOR OUR LIVES’ STUDENTS MAKE NATIONWIDE VOTER PUSH: Parkland, Fla., student David Hogg stood outside the National Education Association’s annual gathering in Minneapolis earlier this month, wearing a t-shirt with a QR code on it. That code, when scanned by phone, directed people to a voter registration website. “I registered more than 100 new voters that way,” he told Morning Education over the phone.

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Hogg, 18, and other student activists are in the middle of a nationwide tour devoted to voter registration and an end to gun violence in America. Every day starts by waking up in a hotel room around 7 a.m. and then boarding a bus for hours, stopping in new cities for town halls and other community events, he said. The day usually ends around midnight. Hogg spoke on Thursday as the bus headed to Aurora, Colo., where a mass shooting at a movie theater in 2012 killed 12 people and injured dozens more.

The students come from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed on Valentine’s Day, and from cities affected by gun violence across the country. Alex King, who recently graduated from Chicago’s North Lawndale College Prep High School, said the students on tour have become family. “We look at this as a family road trip,” he told Morning Education. King lost his nephew to gun violence last year. “People who’ve been through so much suffering can become very close with each other,” Hogg said.

Protesters and gun rights advocates are often present during the stops. But King said they ask protesters to have a conversation whenever possible. “Most of the time we invite them in so that they can listen to us and we can listen to them,” he said. “We do this because we need to understand both sides. You need both sides of the story to get the truth and get the change.”

There are many stops left on the tour, which ends on Aug. 12 in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six adults were killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Hogg, who recently graduated, said he plans to take a gap year after the tour and continue his voting push on college campuses, in addition to other projects he said were “secret.” King said he plans to attend Grand Valley State University in Michigan this fall and keep up the activism “when I don’t have class.”

THANK GOODNESS IT’S FRIDAY, JULY 13! Wishing you luck on this unluckiest of days. I could use a little luck this weekend as I try to bake bread for the second time after screwing up my first attempt earlier this week. (I’ve been watching a lot of the “Great British Baking Show” on Netflix.) Send your foolproof bread recipes to: [email protected] or @caitlinzemma. Send events to: [email protected] And follow us on Twitter: @Morning_Edu and @POLITICOPro.

AFT KICKS OFF NATIONAL CONVENTION: The American Federation of Teachers kicks off its biennial gathering of members today in Pittsburgh. The event will begin with speeches from AFT President Randi Weingarten and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who is expected to receive the union’s Women’s Rights award.

The four-day event will center on member engagement and activism following the Supreme Court decision to allow public sector workers to stop paying agency fees to unions for collective bargaining costs. AFT leaders have remained staunch in their message that workers are “sticking with our union.” Engaging with delegates at the convention will be a key part of the strategy to keep members on board.

The convention will also feature AFT members running for office, leaders from other prominent unions and DACA recipients. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are also slated to deliver speeches over the weekend.

DEVOS HEADS TO PENNSYLVANIA: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Monday is traveling to Erie, Pa., where she’ll meet with students and school district administrators, Erie News Now reports. The visit was coordinated with help from Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), according to local news reports. A school district spokeswoman told Erie News Now that DeVos is interested in the district’s “assets,” but the reason for the visit is unclear. The Education Department and Kelly’s office didn’t respond to Morning Education’s request for details.

IVANKA TRUMP CONTINUES CTE PUSH ON THE HILL: West Wing adviser Ivanka Trump on Thursday met with Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), head of the House education committee, to discuss updating the federal law that governs career and technical education. Trump met Foxx in the congresswoman’s office, committee spokeswoman Kelley McNabb confirmed to Morning Education.

The House passed a bipartisan bill, H.R. 2353 (115), last June to update the law, known as the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. And the Senate version sailed through its own education committee last month. The Senate bill would allow states to set their own career and technical education goals, which schools would have to meet to maintain federal funding. That would eliminate an existing negotiation process between states and the Education secretary, who approves the state plans.

The legislation could ultimately go to conference. The meeting between Foxx and Trump focused on overarching priorities and passing an overhaul soon, McNabb said. Trump’s push on the Hill for the bill isn’t new — the White House last month announced that she would be meeting with lawmakers to “discuss the urgency” of reauthorizing the law.

On a related note — new nominee movement: The Senate at 5:30 p.m. Monday is expected to take up the nomination of Scott Stump to lead the Education Department’s CTE office.

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