Tag Archives: Department of Education

‘To Make It Easier to Screw the Poor,’ Trump Wants to Massively Reorganize Federal Government

Provisions of this “closely guarded” plan reportedly include merging the Education and Labor Departments, and creating a welfare “megadepartment”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-21-2018

Anti-Trump protesters march in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 29, 2017. (Photo: Susan Melkisethian/Flickr/cc)

Update:

The White House on Thursday released a 32-point plan (pdf) to reorganize several departments of the federal government. The proposal was developed in response to an executive order President Donald Trump issued early last year and cannot be implemented without congressional approval.

Earlier:

In what critics are calling an “insane” proposal by the Trump administration “to make it easier to screw the poor,” the White House is reportedly considering sweeping changes to the organization of the federal government, which could be announced as early as Thursday. Continue reading

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South Carolina’s New Hate Speech Law Outlaws Criticism of the Israeli Occupation

In bill author Clemmons’ view, discussing the military occupation of the West Bank, a reality recognized even by Israel’s Supreme Court, would be considered anti-Semitic under the new South Carolina law.

By Whitney Webb. Published 5-1-2018 by MintPress News

Rep. Alan Clemmons delivers an address from the steps of the South Carolina Statehouse in a speech given via satellite to the Restoring Courage rally in Jerusalem in 2011.

The state of South Carolina will become the first state in the nation to legislate a definition of anti-Semitism that considers certain criticisms of the Israeli government to be hate speech. The language, which was inserted into the state’s recently passed $8 billion budget, offers a much more vague definition of anti-Semitism that some suggest specifically targets the presence of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions, or BDS, movement on state college campuses. The law requires that all state institutions, including state universities, apply the revised definition when deciding whether an act violates anti-discrimination policies.

Once it is reconciled with an appropriations bill previously passed by the state House, the measure will become law and take effect this July. However, the law will last only until the next budget is passed, meaning that the new legal definition of anti-Semitism must be renewed on a yearly basis unless new legislation making the language permanent is passed in the future. Continue reading

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Ditching Watchdog, Betsy DeVos Signals ‘Open Season to Defraud’ Student Borrowers

A week after hiring for-profit college official to oversee fraud unit, Trump’s Education Department terminates relationship with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-5-2017

Student debt in the U.S. has reached more than $1.3 trillion. The Department of Education recently announced it would not work with the CFPB to hel students with complaints about their student loan servicers. (Photo: Tom Woodward/Flickr/cc)

Calling the move “outrageous and deeply troubling,” consumer advocates and opponents of skyrocketing student debt spoke out Tuesday against the Trump administration’s decision to end the working relationship between the Department of Education and the government watchdog tasked with helping oversee the federal student loan program and protect borrowers.

At the direction of Congress, under the Dodd-Frank financial reform act, the Department of Education has shared information with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) since 2011 in order to provide assistance to borrowers with complaints about Federal student loans. But the Department, now run by Secretary Betsy DeVos, informed the Bureau in a letter last week that it was ending the relationship. Continue reading

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‘Stunning and Dangerous’: DeVos Memo Reveals Plan to Roll Back Civil Rights

“President Trump and his administration can claim to oppose discrimination all they want, but actions speak louder than words,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-17-2017

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this year. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

In a move decried as “more evidence of backward thinking” by the Trump administration, an internal memo from the Department of Education’s office for civil rights lays out the agency’s plan to roll back investigations into civil rights violations at public schools and diminish Obama-era rules requiring “schools and colleges to overhaul policies addressing a number of civil rights concerns,” the New York Times reported on Friday.

According to the memo, “requirements that investigators broaden their inquiries to identify systemic issues and whole classes of victims will be scaled back,” the Times noted. “Also, regional offices will no longer be required to alert department officials in Washington of all highly sensitive complaints on issues such as the disproportionate disciplining of minority students and the mishandling of sexual assaults on college campuses.” Continue reading

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Trump Administration to Raid Public Ed to Fund School Choice Programs

With key K-12 and higher ed programs on the chopping block, education advocate Diane Ravitch declares: “Don’t agonize. Organize.”

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-18-2017

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this year. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

The Trump administration is preparing to unveil a sweeping school choice plan that would be prioritized at the expense of student aid and debt relief as well as public education programs that help low-income children, according to news reports.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a wealthy philanthropist who lobbied for voucher programs and charter schools before being tapped to lead the nation’s K-12 and higher education systems, will reportedly announce the school choice proposal Monday at an Indianapolis summit hosted by the conservative group she formerly chaired, the American Federation for Children.  Continue reading

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Borrowers ‘Chilled to the Bone’ as DOE Reneges on Student Loan Forgiveness

Young people who took low-paying, public-sector jobs with promise of loan forgiveness now ‘hosed’

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-31-2017

As first wave of qualified workers prepare to apply for loan forgiveness, they may have an unpleasant surprise waiting for them. (Photo: thisisbossi/flickr/cc)

In a troubling development for the countless people saddled with student debt, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) may be reneging on a promise made to over 550,000 such borrowers who were led to believe that their loans would be forgiven after ten years of work in the public service.

Responding to an ongoing lawsuit from four borrowers, the DOE has given no explanation but says that approval letters sent to individuals who signed up for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program are not in fact “binding,” the New York Times reported Thursday. Continue reading

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8 Things Congress Has Done While Everyone was Distracted by Trump

By . Published 2-14-2017 by The Anti-Media

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

While we were distracted by the onslaught of executive orders President Trump pushed through during his first two weeks in office, legislators in Congress were busy quietly introducing legislation to bolster his top-down moves.

Here’s what you missed:

1. A House Panel Voted to Terminate the Election Assistance Commission

The House Administration Committee voted 6-3 in favor Republican Congressman Gregg Harper’s bill to terminate the Election Assistance Commission. The EAC, which was created in response to the contentious 2000 Florida election results as part of the Help America Vote Act, is a bipartisan commission that certifies voting machines and is responsible for making sure they cannot be hacked. Continue reading

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Why every American should fear abolishing the Department of Education

Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Written by Carol Benedict

On the same day as the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary occurred, KY Rep. Thomas Massie introduced a bill to the House of Representatives in Washington DC, which consisted of 1 sentence.

“The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”

No provisions for the Department’s various responsibilities to be distributed to others, nothing. Just simply GONE.

Massie attempts to offer explanations of local schools and states as being the best qualified to determine the educational requirements of America’s children. In an ideal United States, this is an entirely reasonable notion.

But reality is never ideal. Left without any federal guidelines, in the past schools have not been able to demonstrate an ability to teach students across the nation in any form of standardized curriculum. A student in Minnesota or Washington state is given completely lessons, and thus grade completion standards, than a student in Florida or Mississippi, for example.

DeVos promotes a voucher system that allows students to bypass public schools and instead attend schools selected as chatter schools, This will then siphon the student’s portion of public education funds and transfers that to the charter school.

But charter schools are not required to teach special education classes or accommodate special needs students. Nor are they required to offer any accountability for student outcomes. They are allowed free reign to spend budgets as they wish. They are not participants of the federal school lunch programs, and they often offer curriculum based on a denominational or religious point of view

While it may seem all streamlined, there are a few important details slipping through the cracks.

After DeVos’ confirmation, Facebook exploded with comments from teachers. Among them, we noticed the following sentiments:

When you take money away from public schools and give it to charter and private schools, schools will be even more segregated. Very few poor parents can drive their kids to school each day, nor can they afford to pay the cost of private education not covered by a voucher, which will leave these children stuck in a public school with even less funding than before.

In addition, all schools that take federal money should have to show they are educating children, all children. If you take federal funds, not only should you be required to take every kid (those with mental, physical, and behavioral challenges), but you should be able to show you can successfully educate them. That’s what we require of public schools. Private and charter should be no different. Betsy DeVos disagrees.

Her lack of knowledge of federal disability laws and basic educational concepts is also appalling. Her appointment sadly proves that party lines are more important than children. Every American should fear this.

About the Author:
Carol Benedict is an indépendant researcher and human rights activist. She is also an independent Journalist and a professional member of the US Press Association.

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Warren Blasts Dept of Ed. for ‘Hounding’ Students Defrauded by For-Profit School

Investigation by the senator’s staff found that nearly 80,000 former Corinthian College students are being forced into debt collection

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-30-2016

"Instead of adding insult to injury," Warren wrote, the Department of Education "should stand up for these students as it promised to do for more than a year and immediately halt all collections on these debt." (Photo: Mystery Pill/cc/flickr)

“Instead of adding insult to injury,” Warren wrote, the Department of Education “should stand up for these students as it promised to do for more than a year and immediately halt all collections on these debt.” (Photo: Mystery Pill/cc/flickr)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is taking a stand for the tens of thousands of students who, first, were defrauded by the now-defunct, for-profit Corinthian College system and now, according to an investigation by her own staff, are being “hounded” by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to pay off those debts.

In a searing letter (pdf) to DOE secretary John King on Thursday, Warren said that the department’s student loan bank is pushing nearly 80,000 former Corinthian College students into some form of debt collection, despite assurances that they would be eligible for loan discharges. Continue reading

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No More Excuses: Sen. Warren Lambastes DOE on Student Loans

Democrat from Massachusetts says US Department of Education goes to ‘extraordinary lengths’ to protect student loan companies—at borrowers’ expense

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-4-2016

In January, Elizabeth Warren was among a group of Senate Democrats who unveiled a legislative package to address college affordability. (Photo: Senate Democrats/flickr/cc)

In January, Elizabeth Warren was among a group of Senate Democrats who unveiled a legislative package to address college affordability. (Photo: Senate Democrats/flickr/cc)

Can the U.S. Department of Education be trusted to protect the millions of Americans with federal student loans?

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who has tussled with the federal agency before, isn’t so sure.

She said as much in a letter (pdf) sent Thursday to acting Education Secretary John King Jr., in which she describes an independent audit published this week as “a stunning indictment of the Department of Education’s [DOE] oversight of student loan servicers, exposing the extraordinary lengths to which the Department will go to protect those companies when they break the law.” Continue reading

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