The Obama administration on Friday issued a directive to all public schools in the nation proclaiming that transgender students must be allowed to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity. On Long Island, the White House’s directive, which also includes school locker rooms, was dubbed a “huge victory” by one of the leading gay and transgender rights groups in the region.
In a 49-40 vote Monday, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Barack Obama’s nominee for U.S. Department of Education secretary, former New York State education commissioner John B. King, Jr., inciting harsh criticism from education advocates across New York, as well as denunciation from U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. New York’s other senator, Chuck Schumer, voted in favor of King’s confirmation. The split vote comes amid ever-growing protests against the controversial education reform Common Core by statewide education advocates, who had experienced firsthand the aftermath of King’s tenure. More than 240,000 students statewide “opted-out” of taking the exams last April. Sen. Gillibrand was the lone Democrat opposing the nod.