Wednesday, July 19, 2017

After Six Months, What Has Trump-DeVos Department of Education Accomplished? | janresseger

After Six Months, What Has Trump-DeVos Department of Education Accomplished? | janresseger:

After Six Months, What Has Trump-DeVos Department of Education Accomplished?





Six months into the Trump Administration, it is time to consider what’s happened in public education policy under the leadership of Betsy DeVos at the U.S. Department of Education. Here are brief updates.
Office of Civil Rights (OCR)—Just this week, Betsy DeVos announced that she is “returning” the OCR “to its role as a neutral, impartial, investigative agency.”  Caitlin Emma explains at POLITICO, “In a July 11 letter to Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, DeVos asserted that the department’s civil rights arm under the Obama administration ‘had descended into a pattern of overreach, of setting out to punish and embarrass institutions rather than work with them to correct civil rights violations and of ignoring public input prior to issuing new rules.”  When a complaint is filed, DeVos has established new procedures to look at individual violations without an in-depth exploration of whether the specific alleged violation is an indication of systemic problems during the prior three years.  DeVos has also stopped pushing hard to protect the rights of transgender students, and seems to be weakening Title IX enforcement around sexual abuse.  This week, DeVos has run into huge pushback from Senator Patty Murray, who has demanded the resignation of Candace Jackson, the acting OCR chief, who recently commented that 90 percent of sexual assualts on campus “fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk,’ ‘we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not right.'”  Senator Murray and many others are concerned about two issues here. First, the Office of Civil Rights is not intended to be a neutral investigative agency. It is charged with investigating civil rights complaints and ensuring that the law is enforced to protect students whose rights violated. Second, the head of the Office of Civil Rights is not supposed to be expressing her own bias in advance about complaints that are likely to be brought to the agency.
Higher Education—DeVos is delaying two Obama-era rules that were designed to protect students from unscrupulous recruitment by for-profit colleges, particularly trade schools that depend for nearly 90 percent of their operating funds on federal grants and loans. Default rates are alarming, which means that the Obama-era rules were also designed to protect taxpayers. DeVos’s Department of Education is delaying enforcement of these rules as a prelude to rewriting them.





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