This year, National Journal‘s Women in Washington list focuses on women who exercise powerful influence in five policy areas: energy, health care, technology, defense, and education.
Martin was Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s right-hand aide until March, when she left her post as assistant secretary to run the education-research unit at the liberal Center for American Progress. At the department, she oversaw Duncan’s major endeavors, including Race to the Top grant applications. At CAP, Martin is a go-to expert on all things K-12. She previously worked for education guru Edward Kennedy in the Senate.
Anyone who can go toe to toe with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel must have some stamina. As president of the Chicago Teachers Union, Lewis has been on the front lines of the city’s battles over longer school days, teacher evaluations, and salaries. She led the 2012 teachers union strike, when her members sought a 30 percent pay increase.
Gates is the non-Microsoft face of a philanthropic organization that has revolutionized how education is viewed in the United States. The Gates Foundation bankrolls dozens of groups dedicated to reforming public schools, and is a big supporter and funder of the controversial Common Core State Standards. She is also a prominent force for reducing global poverty.
Rees is an outspoken advocate of school choice and has frequently functioned as a conservative spokeswoman on education. She implemented much of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, and served as an education adviser to Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign.
At the Education Department, Delisle — Arne Duncan’s top aide on all matters pertaining to pre-K and K-12 — is in charge of approving states’ requests for No Child Left Behind waivers. Before joining the department, she was a senior fellow at the International Center for Leadership in Education, which partners with schools and districts to create best practices for classrooms.
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A DHS report "found gaping holes in domestic nuclear detection and defense capabilities and massive failures during covert testing." A team put in place to assess our readiness capabilities found significant issues in detecting dangerous radioactive and nuclear materials, failing to do so in 30 percent of covert tests conducted over the course of the year. In far too many cases, the person operating the detection device had no idea how to use it. And when the operator did get a hit, he or she relayed sensitive information over unsecured open radio channels."
Donald Trump is planning to reverse an Obama-era order requiring that schools allow students to use the bathroom that coincides with their gender identity. Trump "has green-lighted the plan for the Justice Department and Education Department to send a “Dear Colleague” letter to schools rescinding the guidance." A case is going before the Supreme Court on March 28 in which Gavin Grimm, a transgender high school student, is suing his high school for forbidding him to use the men's room.
Retired Russian diplomats and members of Vladimir Putin's staff are compiling a dossier "on Donald Trump's psychological makeup" for the Russian leader. "Among its preliminary conclusions is that the new American leader is a risk-taker who can be naïve, according to a senior Kremlin adviser."