Monday, March 4, 2019

Elizabeth Warren Calls Betsy DeVos “The Worst Secretary Of Education This Country Has Ever Seen” – Mother Jones

Elizabeth Warren Calls Betsy DeVos “The Worst Secretary Of Education This Country Has Ever Seen” – Mother Jones

Elizabeth Warren Calls Betsy DeVos “The Worst Secretary Of Education This Country Has Ever Seen”
A report from two Democratic lawmakers makes the case.

In her first year overseeing the Education Department, Secretary Betsy DeVos has been “a boon for for-profit colleges, student loan companies, and advocates of school privatization,” while harming public school students of all ages, according to a report released Thursday by two Massachusetts Democrats, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Katherine Clark.
“Betsy DeVos is the worst Secretary of Education this country has ever seen—by a large margin,” Warren said in a statement. “Secretary DeVos has spent her first year bending over backwards to allow students to be cheated, taking an axe to public education, and undermining the civil rights of students across the country. Secretary DeVos has failed in her job and she must be held accountable.”
The report found that DeVos:
Has looming conflicts of interest: Before she joined Donald Trump’s cabinet, DeVos, a Michigan billionaire, evangelized for school choice. Her ethics agreement disclosure, unveiled after her memorable confirmation hearing, revealed that she had at least $580 million in assets and had to divest from 102 financial holdings that conflicted with her work as education secretary—including stakes in a student loan debt collection agency, a for-profit college operator, and other education-related companies. She still holds three family trusts and “has yet to disclose the assets in two trusts,” notes the report. “By ignoring longstanding ethical norms for powerful public officials, Secretary DeVos has left the possibility that she has used this power to enrich herself and her family wide open.” 
Hired department officials with ties to the for-profit college industry: In her pursuit to roll back regulations at the Education Department, DeVos has focused on reversing for-profit college guidelines put in place by the Obama administration. Weeks after she was narrowly confirmed by the Senate, DeVos hired Taylor Hansen—who spent years working as a lobbyist for the Career Education Colleges and Universities, the largest association of for-profit colleges—as her special assistant. Hansen had long rallied against the so-called gainful employment rule, an Obama-era provision that lets the government stop giving loans to for-profit colleges whose graduates are unable to make enough money to repay their debt. After ProPublica reportedon Hansen’s past affiliations, he resigned—but not before the department rescinded an Obama-era rule that prevented loan collectors known as “guaranty agencies” from charging fees on student borrowers who default and agree to repay the loans. Hansen’s father was running one such agency, United Student Aid Funds, when it sued the Education Department over the rule in 2015. (The company has since changed its name to Strada Education Network and denies its involvement in reversing the rule.)
That same month, DeVos tapped Robert Eital as her next special assistant. The report points out that Eital, who worked as vice president of regulatory legal services for Bridgepoint Education, a for-profit college operator, remained employed by Bridgepoint for two months while he was working as DeVos’ assistant. Bridgepoint had been under federal investigation, and it recently settled a lawsuit alleging deceptive lending practices. Last April, Eital became DeVos’ special counselor, overseeing the department’s regulatory reforms. In August, DeVos brought on Julian Schmoke Jr., a former dean of the for-profit DeVry University, to oversee the department’s chief enforcer against fraud in higher education. 
Overhauled and delayed regulations on for-profit colleges: Within the CONTINUE READING: Elizabeth Warren Calls Betsy DeVos “The Worst Secretary Of Education This Country Has Ever Seen” – Mother Jones

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