Dear Commons Community,
If we can get passed page one of today’s news reviewing Donald Trump’s tax reform proposal, he signed an executive order yesterday that requires Secretary Betsy DeVos to review all USDOE regulations that impinge on state and local control of education. The purpose of this order is to roll back many of the requirements imposed by No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top policies of the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. This is Trump grandstanding at best in that Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary has the power to do this at any time. Here is an excerpt from a New York Times article:
“President Trump issued a sweeping review of federal education policies on Wednesday in an executive order to pinpoint areas where the government may be overstepping in shaping operations of local school systems.
The order requires Betsy DeVos, Mr. Trump’s education secretary, to review, modify and possibly repeal any regulations and guidelines that are not consistent with federal law.
Mr. Trump described the order as “another critical step to restoring local control,” and one that fulfills one of his campaign promises.
“For too long, the federal government has imposed its will on state and local governments,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference to sign the order. “The result has been education that spends more, and achieves far, far, far less.”
The review will be conducted within 300 days, and its findings will be published in a public report. It aims to ensure local leaders will have the final say “about what happens in the classroom,” said Rob Goad, a senior Education Department official. Ms. DeVos is already empowered to rescind guidance and regulations, and has already done so, and any attempt at overturning laws would be subjected to a legal, regulatory process.
In an interview, Ms. DeVos called Mr. Trump’s order a “welcomed opportunity” and “a clear mandate to take that real hard look at what we’ve been doing at the department level that we shouldn’t be doing, and what ways we have overreached.”
She said Mr. Trump had already espoused “the importance of states and localities’ being able to address issues that are closest to them.”
“And when it comes to education, decisions made at local levels and at state levels are the best ones,” Ms. DeVos said.
The review will focus on K-12 policy, Mr. Goad said. It will be overseen by a regulatory task force headed by Robert Eitel, who was hired from the for-profit sector to serve as a senior counselor to Ms. DeVos. Mr. Eitel is a vocal critic of regulations in higher-education and K-12 policy, and his hiring was controversial.
A New York Times investigation found that before he took his post in the Education Department, Mr. Eitel spent 18 months as a top lawyer for a company facing multiple government investigations, including one that ended with a settlement of more than $30 million over deceptive student lending.”
The most provocative part of this article is the fact that Robert Eitel, who will be heading the review was affiliated with a company that operates for-profit colleges known for deceptive student lending practices.