Tag: Department of Education

Reagan’s Legacy of Ashes: Education


Reagan EducationWhat does it take for a Republican president to effect real, lasting change? Was President Ronald Reagan a failure beyond the Cold War and the economy? Reagan had two overwhelming Electoral College victories. He did so by assembling a coalition of three different kinds of “conservatives:” religious (social), economic, and security. In the end, Reagan’s eight years in office were marked by big substantive policy benefits to the economic and national security wings, with minimal substantive benefits to religious/social conservatives.

Consider the policy area of education. Ronald Reagan ran in 1980 on reversing the brand new elevation of a Department of Education to cabinet level. He failed in this and failed in effecting any substantive reform of education, so failed to even slow the left’s mark through the institutions and seizure of mind share. President Reagan left us a legacy of ashes in education policy.

Memorandum of Discussion at the 473d Meeting of the National Security Council

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Jim Blew, the assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development at the U.S. Department of Education. Assistant Secretary Blew shares lessons from leading and implementing K-12 public education reform efforts in often contentious policy environments, and the unique challenges of the current partisanship and gridlock in Washington, D.C. He describes Secretary DeVos’s courageous work on behalf of public and private school choice, as both a public official and private philanthropist, and why it caused such a stir from the national teachers’ unions and defenders of the status quo in Congress. The discussion concludes with a focus on the D.C. voucher program, the most successful federally-funded K-12 private school choice program ever established, its future prospects, and the outlook for private school choice programs across the country.

Stories of the Week: The New Hampshire state legislature will move forward on the first phase of a $46 million federal grant-funded initiative to double the number of charter schools, after Democratic lawmakers voted against the grant last year. Lily Eskelsen García rose from school cafeteria worker to president of the National Education Association – will President-elect Biden choose her as the next U.S. Secretary of Education?

Uncommon Knowledge: Empowering Students with Betsy DeVos


What’s wrong with public education in the United States? Betsy DeVos, US secretary of education, analyzes the role of government in the US education system and the changes she’s making to the Department of Education. She discusses her proposal to overhaul the federal education system by rolling back government overreach from the previous administration. She argues that states and parents need to be empowered to make better informed and flexible decisions for where students attend schools. Her plan is to offer states the opportunity to enroll in an optional tax-credit program that would enable more parents to choose where their children go to school, including charter schools.

Secretary DeVos briefly touches on Title IX. She argues that, even though one sexual assault on a college campus is too many, better protections need to be put into place for the accused to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Peter Robinson and Secretary DeVos also discuss the trials of working in her current position and her dedication to serving the parents and students of the United States.

Harvard Caught in Victim Vise


Haaah-vahd is caught in a virtuous-victims vise, and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving center of intersectional grievance mongers. For the past year, Harvard has been slowly bled by allegations and then ugly revelations about their administration’s racial problem with Asians. Now, Harvard is being sued for profiting today from the racist Harvard past, specifically by exploiting the image of a slave. The plaintiff claims she is a descendant of the exploited African-American and suffers harm herself in seeing the continued exploitation of her ancestor by Harvard.

So, Harvard University is being sued for discrimination against Asians, in the same way as they once discriminated against Jews, and is being separately sued for the present-day continuation of its 19th-century exploitation of an African-American slave. Perhaps the Harvard shield of arms should be updated, replacing “Veritas,” written across three open books, with a plain black bar sinister.

It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch:

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Professors are lining up behind AOC (the encapsulation of their work) to advocate forcing taxpayers to bail out student debt. Here’s an idea – people need to be held accountable for the skyrocketing tuition costs over the past few decades which created that student loan bubble in the first place. A few more ways to […]

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Pushing the Leftist Agenda by Attacking Betsy DeVos – Again


Betsy DeVos is once more in the sights of the House Democrats—and it’s going to get uglier with Democrats controlling the House. I’ve written about Secretary DeVos in the past, and because there is so much at stake with the state of education in the U.S., I’ve no doubt that the Democrats will do everything in their power to discredit her, remove her, and try to re-instate the biased and ineffective Obama administration and Leftist policies. This post will review some of the attacks on DeVos and the Department of Education, and why it is such a serious matter for this country, for education and for the rule of law.

The accusations against DeVos are many, including accusations of conflicts of interest of her staff, attacks on her brother, attacks on her expenses, and attacks on her motives. The two most important issues, I believe, are her revisions to the Title IX requirements and criticisms of the Department regarding student loan management. I’m not addressing conflicts of interest, because although the current brouhaha includes this criticism, most of the allegations that I could find are nearly two years old; I assume they didn’t rise to the level of removing her, or they were resolved. These accusations were likely just another attempt to discredit a Trump cabinet member.

In her efforts regarding Title IX to ensure that both the accused perpetrator and victim are fairly protected, DeVos issued new guidelines for formal complaints.

This week on Banter, AEI resident fellow Jason Delisle joined the show to discuss the role of inspectors general in the Department of Education and their influence on policy debates. He also discussed his new report on graduate schools with the lowest rates of student loan repayment. Delisle’s work at AEI focuses on higher education financing and student loan programs. You can read his piece on the inspectors general and the graduate schools report at the links below.

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DeVos Nomination Is the Most Contested Because It’s About the Future


The Betsy DeVos nomination proved to be the most contentious; the hill Democrats have chosen to die on. Why? Because it’s about the future:

  • The future of the teachers’ unions, who had much of their power stripped from them in Wisconsin with the passage of Act 10, and who barely survived losing power in California due to 4-4 Supreme Court tie in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association et. al.
  • The future of the Department of Education in whether it will be greatly scaled back or allowed to remain largely intact and in the future return to its practice of “Dear Colleague” letters to universities, school districts, etc. dictating the abandonment of due process for the accused and imposing radical social policy with the threat of federal lawsuits.
  • The future of whether states, municipalities, and most importantly parents will have the freedom to determine the opportunities available to children — charter schools, school choice, home schooling, in addition to public schools — or fewer choices due to further and further regulations dictated by federal bureaucrats in Washington beholden to the interests of teachers’ unions.
  • The future of what is taught to children — does the federal government know better than you what your children should learn in school? A federally determined curriculum reaches more students if more students are forced to remain in the public schools. Progressive ideology must be taught to the next generation. A DeVos-run Department of Education will hopefully abandon central planning style Common Core curricula and return that power to the states.

Betsy DeVos has the opportunity to do so much good and bring to an end so much Education departmental overreach and abuse of power. The Democrats were desperate to prevent this from happening. It’s all about the future.

Trump Picks School Choice Champion to Run Ed Dept


90In a perfect world, the President-elect would dissolve the Department of Education, salt the earth, and erect a charter school in its place. But a close second is nominating a Secretary of Education who will take on the meddling DC bureaucrats and ossified teachers’ unions. Trump did just that today by naming school choice enthusiast Betsy DeVos to the post.

“Under her leadership we will reform the U.S. education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families,” Mr. Trump said in a statement.

Ms. DeVos, a Republican mega-donor and chairman of the American Federation for Children, vowed to help Mr. Trump remake the education system.

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While recently discussing with me the ongoing death spiral of American education since the Department of Education was introduced, a Texas teacher yet again lowered my expectations.  As you know, our government accepts illegal aliens into our schools. If no documentation from Mexico or wherever provides the invader’s age, then the student can invent an […]

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Education Dept: Students Can Sue for Loan Forgiveness. I just returned from a trip touring a state university with my oldest son. After doing some simple math, before potential scholarships my son (and I) are looking at a couple hundred large. Two. Hundred. Thousand. Dollars. Nothing like roaming a college campus to make one feel old. […]

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Department of Justice to Universities: Title IX Requires You to Violate First Amendment


shutterstock_3359855The feds are once again pushing an unconstitutional definition of harassment on universities. The latest push, coming in the form of a “findings letter” issued to the University of New Mexico, is all the more concerning because it’s coming directly from the Department of Justice. Universities are forced to choose between adopting a wildly unconstitutional definition of harassment or face the possibility of losing their federal funding and the wrath of the DOJ.

As FIRE writes in our new press release:

The shockingly broad conception of sexual harassment mandated by DOJ all but guarantees that colleges and universities nationwide will subject students and faculty to months-long investigations—or worse—for protected speech. In recent years, unjust “sexual harassment” investigations into protected student and faculty speech have generated national headlines and widespread concern. Examples include:

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Today’s Weekly Standard has Bill Kristol reconsidering his previous statements grouping Ben Carson with Donald Trump, as having insufficient conservative policy chops to merit support as a GOP candidate in 2016.  In Kristol’s case, this appears to be due to a lengthy Facebook post by Carson singing admittedly lovely tune from the “citizen government” hymnal […]

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Here’s one I didn’t see coming, from Ashley Edwardson at Allen West’s site:  In what might be seen as purely coincidence, a program called Connect All Schools (which quotes Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech on its website) was creating a consortium of like-minded organizations with the goal of “connecting every school in the U.S. with the world by […]

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The Wrong Kind of Renaissance: A New Age of Campus Censorship


shutterstock_141582367When I published my first book, Unlearning Liberty, in 2012, I felt optimistic that the situation for free speech on campus, though not good by any means, was improving. A lot of the campus censorship efforts had become less ideological and more of the old-fashioned, “Don’t you dare criticize my university” type of censorship. Even the scourge of campus speech codes seemed to be eroding—albeit very slowly in the face of Herculean efforts.

Still, I knew from experience that things could turn around—and, sadly, turn around they have. In the last two years, the intense political correctness of the late 1980s and early ’90s has returned with a vengeance, and we are now experiencing the wrong kind of renaissance.

Yesterday, I examined the contributing forces to this “renaissance” in my latest essay on Minding the Campus. As I write in the piece:

FIRE’s Worst for Free Speech Spotlight: Marquette University


And now for the list you’ve all been waiting for: FIRE’s “10 Worst for Free Speech on Campus” list for 2014. While the phrasing of that title may seem a little odd, we changed it from “Worst Colleges for Free Speech” this year because sometimes outside institutions are major threats to collegiate free speech. For the second year in a row, the Department of Education is likely the biggest threat to free speech on campus. You can brush up on the details in my December 2014 Ricochet post entitled Campus Speech Codes Decline, But Federal Government Threatens to Impose Censorship Codes at 100% of Colleges.

But I wanted to bring Ricochet readers’ attention to a handful of “winners” in particular. One of the most urgent cases here is the one still going on at Marquette University:

Campus Speech Codes Decline, But Federal Government Threatens to Impose Censorship Codes at 100% of Colleges


The Wall Street Journal penned a great staff editorial about my organization’s (FIRE’s) 2015 speech code report, which was just officially released today. There is some good news in the report, as the Journal reports:

55% of the 437 colleges it surveyed this year maintain “severely restrictive” policies that “clearly and substantially prohibit protected speech.” They include 61 private schools and 180 public colleges. Incredibly, this represents progress from Fire’s survey seven years ago when 75% of colleges maintained restrictive free speech codes.

Obama, a Modern-day Lucius Mummius Achaicus?


The number of Obama Administration attacks on private industry are simply too numerous to count. A Google search of the Environmental Protection Agency’s “War on Coal” produces more than 2.8 million results! But the onslaught isn’t reserved only to the energy industry. The private sector “zone” is so flooded by relentless federal pressure that many of these regulatory crusades fail to get noticed anymore.

One such Presidential war that has largely escaped notice is the effort to obliterate for-profit higher education which the free market produced to fill in the gaps in service from the public and non-profit universities.

Tufts to Department of Education: “Finding Has No Basis in Law”


Be sure to read FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley’s excellent piece today at WGBH.com on the ongoing battle over how colleges and universities handle allegations of sexual harassment and assault. As I reported yesterday, the White House unveiled its first official task force report (PDF), to both acclaim and criticism. Overshadowed by the White House announcement, however, is the news that Tufts University is pushing back against its treatment by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. As Shibley explains:

One of the first questions many people ask on this issue is, “Why are colleges holding rape trials anyway?” Good question. They do so because they are required to under Title IX, the 1972 federal law banning sex discrimination in educational programs. But don’t bother looking at the text of Title IX, which makes no mention of rape hearings at all. The requirement instead comes from mountains of federal regulations and piecemeal statutes that hold colleges to standards that are nearly impossible to meet or even comprehend.