The Trump administration is waging a quiet war on education

Jun 16, 2019 by

Ross Barkan –

The Trump/DeVos vision of American education? Unshackle the rich and let them turn a profit at the expense of working-class students

‘Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, and her underlings are dedicated to seeing their radical conservative vision of government achieved, and they’re taking aim at the very heart of public education.’

Perhaps nothing illustrates the perverse nature of Donald Trump’s administration better than his approach to the regulatory state. In Trump’s America, those most zealously dedicated to unraveling federal oversight are in charge of the government, racing to shred laws as quickly as they can.

Although it rarely draws the outrage of his latest unhinged tweet or foible abroad, it is in the president’s Department of Education that this spirit of cruel nihilism is best on display. Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, and her underlings are dedicated to seeing their radical conservative vision of government achieved, and they’re taking aim at the very heart of public education.

Few Americans know the name of Diane Auer Jones, a deputy under DeVos. A former assistant secretary under George W Bush who resigned over the education department’s treatment of an accreditor that oversaw religiously-affiliated colleges, Jones is back with a vengeance: she has already slashed Obama-era regulations of for-profit colleges, including one rule that forced these schools to prove they provide gainful employment to graduates. She also recommended the reinstatement of a scandal-scarred accreditor the Obama administration tried to banish after the collapse of two for-profit chains under its supervision.

This week, Jones proposed a drastic policy rewrite which would weaken the federal government’s hold on accreditors, the watchdogs that allow educational institutions to access millions in financial aid. The rules would both make it easier for accreditors to be recognized by the Department of Education and weaken standards for measuring their performance, potentially allowing them many more years to punish failing, predatory schools. Accreditors would also be empowered to stop the shuttering of troubled for-profit schools.

When the rules go through, they will deliver on DeVos’ dream of deregulating higher education, increasingly leaving the system to private operators with little oversight. A billionaire who has championed publicly-funded, privately-run charter schools and vouchers that would starve public schools of funds so students can attend private or religious schools, DeVos is a natural fit for a president who disdains the public sector (unless it’s underwriting his family’s real estate empire).

Source: The Trump administration is waging a quiet war on education | Ross Barkan | Opinion | The Guardian

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.