Trump Era

Overview

Education in the Trump Era

The election of Republican Donald Trump as president, coupled with the GOP's success in retaining control of Congress for two more years, appears likely to reshape federal education policy in significant ways, from preschool to college. Already, Republican lawmakers have moved to repeal key Obama administration regulations on school accountability and teacher preparation. The Trump administration made waves by backing away from Obama-era guidance for schools on bathroom access for transgender students.

The election of Republican Donald Trump as president, coupled with the GOP’s success in retaining control of Congress for two more years, appears likely to reshape federal education policy in significant ways, from preschool to college. Already, Republican lawmakers have moved to repeal key Obama administration regulations on school accountability and teacher preparation. The Trump administration made waves by backing away from Obama-era guidance for schools on bathroom access for transgender students. And early signals suggest expanding school choice will be the president’s top educational priority, one that could find favor among GOP lawmakers.

Even before the 2016 election, the bipartisan rewrite of the No Child Left Behind Act handed states and localities significantly greater control over school accountability and other aspects of education. In 2017, all states are revamping their accountability systems, which must be approved by the U.S. Department of Education now led by Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Beyond the K-12 level, Congress is overdue in reauthorizing the Higher Education Act. And the Trump administration is widely expected to pivot away from Obama priorities such as Title IX enforcement on sexual assault and increased oversight of for-profit colleges. Other issues that may gain favor include new strategies to pay for college, such as “risk sharing” arrangements, as well as competency-based education and more skills training at community colleges.

Meanwhile, the 2016 elections didn’t just shake up things in Washington. Republicans made further inroads in states, particularly notable given the push to give states and localities greater power over education. Currently, the governors of 33 states are Republican, while just 16 are Democrats and one is Independent. Republicans have what Ballotpedia calls a “trifecta” in 25 states (compared with six for Democrats), where the party controls the governorship and both legislative chambers.

Furthermore, there are plenty of fresh faces in key state positions of power that influence education policy. As Education Week recently noted, half the nation’s state legislatures have at least one new education chairman in 2017, and one-quarter of state superintendents are less than one year into the job.

Latest News

Black Colleges Still Waiting

The White House today marked a milestone in leadership on historically black colleges and universities, although probably not the kind President Trump had in mind when he promised in February that support of those institutions would be an “absolute priority.”

A new administration hasn’t made it to August without having named a leader of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities since that office was launched under President Carter. But Trump has not named a leader for the office.

EWA Radio

Betsy DeVos: Many Questions, Few Answers
EWA Radio: Episode 133

Lisa Miller, an associate editor at New York magazine, discusses her new profile of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Miller discusses the unwillingness of people close to DeVos to discuss her on the record — including current Department of Education employees  — made this one of the most challenging profiles she’s ever written. What do we know about DeVos’ vision for the nation’s public schools that we didn’t know six months ago?

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What Has Betsy DeVos Actually Done After Nearly Six Months In Office?

When U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos came into office, many in the education community were terrified the billionaire school choice advocate would quickly use her new perch to privatize education and run roughshod over traditional public schools.

Maybe they shouldn’t have been quite so worried. Nearly six months into her new job, a politically hamstrung DeVos is having a tough time getting her agenda off the ground.

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6 Problems The NAACP Has With Charter Schools — And 5 Of Its Ideas For How To Reshape The Sector

After calling for a temporary ban on new charter schools last year, the NAACP has revealed what would it would take to get the civil rights group to support the privately run, publicly funded sector.

The lengthy report, released Wednesday, allows for the fact that some charters are doing well, but also relates an exhaustive list of concerns. About 5 percent of the country’s public school students attend charters, with an even larger share of black students, the focus of the NAACP report.

Latest News

Trump Administration Advances School Vouchers Despite Scant Evidence

The concept of vouchers originated with economist Milton Friedman. In 1955 he argued that the government should not run schools but instead offer parents educational stipends.

Vouchers are the centerpiece of the Department of Education’s school reform plan. Until now, Washington, D.C., has been home to the only federally funded voucher program in the U.S.

A handful of other cities and states have experimented with small programs. Studies have found mixed to negative results in reading and math but higher high school graduation rates.

Latest News

House Republicans At Odds With Trump’s Proposed Higher Education Cuts

House Republicans issued a 2018 budget bill Tuesday afternoon that rejects several higher education cuts proposed by President Trump but upholds plans to pull billions of dollars in reserves out of the Pell Grant program for needy college students.

Ahead of a markup slated for Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee released the full funding report for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies that provides money for programs placed on the chopping block in the White House budget.

EWA Radio

Scoop! High School Students Interview Defense Secretary Mattis
EWA Radio: Episode 131

Teddy Fischer and Jane Gormley of Mercer Island High School in Washington State discuss how they landed a lengthy Q&A with U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, who has given few interviews since joining President Trump’s cabinet. Fischer, a rising junior, and Gormley, the immediate past editor of the school’s student newspaper, worked with their journalism class and faculty advisor to prepare for the 45-minute conversation on Memorial Day.

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Trump Wants to Spend Millions More on School Vouchers. But What’s Happened to the Millions Already Spent?

Congress dedicates $15 million a year to a program that helps low-income D.C. students pay tuition at private schools, but it’s impossible for taxpayers to find out where their money goes: The administrator of the D.C. voucher program refuses to say how many students attend each school or how many public dollars they receive.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Trump Era Serves Up ‘Teachable Moments’ for Character Ed.

Days after Donald Trump won the White House, the Brookings Institution published an essay suggesting the 2016 presidential election should serve as a “Sputnik moment” for character education.

The campaign’s “extraordinary vitriol and divisiveness” offers a strong argument for a “renewed emphasis on schools’ role in developing children as caring, empathetic citizens,” wrote Brookings scholar Jon Valant.

Latest News

Small Schools May Be Exempt From Accountability Under Essa Plan

Up to 16 percent of Idaho high schools may be exempt from certain accountability provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act.

With just weeks remaining before a major federal deadline, state education officials are debating data reporting requirements that are likely to affect which schools get flagged for improvement — and become eligible for an increase in federal funding.

Latest News

Ed. Dept. Official Apologizes For ‘90%’ Remark On Campus Rape. What’s The Research?


Candice E. Jackson, acting assistant secretary for civil rights in the Department of Education, made a bombshell comment to The New York Times stating that 90 percent of campus sexual-assault complaints “fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk’” and involve a regretful female student.

Campus investigations have not been fair to students who are accused of sexual misconduct, Ms. Jackson told the Times. She added that, in most cases, there’s “not even an accusation that these accused students overrode the will of a young woman.”

Latest News

On Education, The States Ask: Now What?

The new federal education law is supposed to return to the states greater control over their public schools.

But judging from the mood recently at the annual conference of the Education Commission of the States, the states are anything but optimistic about the future, or about the new law.

Latest News

Campus Rape Policies Get a New Look as the Accused Get DeVos’s Ear

WASHINGTON — The letters have come in to her office by the hundreds, heartfelt missives from college students, mostly men, who had been accused of rape or sexual assault. Some had lost scholarships. Some had been expelled. A mother stumbled upon her son trying to take his own life, recalled Candice E. Jackson, the top civil rights official at the Department of Education.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Study Shows Sharp Drop in Republican Support for Higher Ed

Views toward higher education have become increasingly more partisan over the past couple of years, a new survey by the Pew Research Center shows.

The national survey, conducted in early June among 2,504 adults, showed that 58 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents believe colleges have a negative effect on the country, compared to 19 percent for Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.

Latest News

How One State Changed Its ESSA Plan In Response To The Trump Team

You might have heard a lot by now about The Feedback That Shook the World—also known as the official comments from the U.S. Department of Education about states’ Every Student Succeeds Act plans. But how have states actually responded to what U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ agency has said? We now have an interesting response from at least one state. 

Latest News

Five Big Tasks For Betsy DeVos

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos may not have much time for the beach this summer. She and her skeletal political staff will be spending the summer implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act, looking for regulations to cut, and more.

Latest News

‘Megyn Kelly’ Show Features First Network Interview With Betsy DeVos – Education and the Media

“The first network TV news interview with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.” Every TV news network and show has probably been hankering to make that boast, given the controversy surrounding DeVos. The winner of the contest for a sit-down with the secretary is … “Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly,” the NBC News magazine show starring the former Fox News Channel anchor.

Latest News

School Bulletin: Betsy DeVos Speaks (Very Briefly) to a Reporter!

It took nearly three months before DeVos brought on a full-time spokesman. Before then, “many reporters’ queries were simply going unanswered,” says Greg Toppo. Then there is DeVos’ general lack of availability. She has yet to sit down with reporters at department headquarters and “I believe you can count her on-the-record interviews on one hand.”

Latest News

DeVos’s Hard Line On New Education Law Surprises States

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who made a career of promoting local control of education, has signaled a surprisingly hard-line approach to carrying out an expansive new federal education law, issuing critical feedback that has rattled state school chiefs and conservative education experts alike.

Latest News

18 States Sue Betsy DeVos Over Student Loan Protections

Democratic attorneys general from 18 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the Education Department and its secretary, Betsy DeVos, challenging the department’s move last month to freeze new rules for erasing the federal loan debt of student borrowers who were cheated by colleges that acted fraudulently.

Latest News

Education Reform: Feds Find Connecticut’s Plans Lacking

An Incomplete.

That’s the grade the U.S. Department of Education (USED) gave Connecticut last week on its plans to meet the requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced the No Child Left Behind law as the national standard for school accountability.

Reviewers at the federal department found the way Connecticut measures the performance of its public schools lacking and its plans to begin tracking the achievement of English learners vague.