DeVos Family Money Is All Over The News Right Now

From the policy of separating immigrant families, to limiting the power of labor unions, to naming the next justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, this summer the DeVos family name has been all over the news.

Over the years, the parents, in-laws and husband of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have given hundreds of millions of dollars to conservative causes. And many of those causes are front and center of policy initiatives and goals of the Trump administration right now.

Those foundations include the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation (founded by the education secretary and her husband); the DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative (formerly the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation), founded by Betsy DeVos’ in-laws; and the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation, founded by her parents.

Full story at NPR.org

Secretary DeVos on the National Assessment of Educational Progress: “We can and we must do better for America’s students”

WASHINGTON – The Institute of Education Sciences today released the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), commonly referred to as the “Nation’s Report Card”. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued the following statement in response:

“The report card is in, and the results are clear: We can and we must do better for America’s students. Our nation’s reading and math scores continue to stagnate. More alarmingly, the gap between the highest and lowest performing students is widening, despite billions in Federal funding designated specifically to help close it.

“One bright spot in today’s report is Florida, where Sunshine State students are bucking the national trend, showing significant improvement in 4th and 8th grade math and in 8th grade reading. Both low and high performers in Florida demonstrated that improvement, again bucking the national trend and narrowing the achievement gap.

Full story at ed.gov

Secretary DeVos Issues Full Forgiveness of HBCU Hurricane Relief Loans

Today U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced full forgiveness of the hurricane relief loans provided to four Historically Black Colleges and Universities after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Gulf Coast in 2005.

“This additional disaster relief will lift a huge burden and enable the four HBCUs to continue their focus on serving their students and communities,” said DeVos. “This relief provides one more step toward full recovery.”

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 made funds available to fully forgive the loans of Dillard University, Southern University at New Orleans, Tougaloo College and Xavier University of Louisiana under the HBCU Hurricane Supplemental Loan program.

Full story at ed.gov

DeVos to State Chiefs: We Can, We Must Do Better for Students

Addressing the nation’s chief state school officers, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos delivered some “tough love” regarding progress under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA is the bipartisan education legislation passed by Congress in 2015 that returned power over education back to states.

DeVos’ remarks came after her review and approval of a majority of states’ ESSA plans. The law requires a federal review to ensure compliance with the law but then gives latitude to the states to determine how best to ensure educational success. DeVos challenged the chiefs to embrace the flexibility afforded them by ESSA and innovate on behalf of their students. “Just because a plan complies with the law doesn’t mean it does what’s best for students,” said DeVos.

Full speech at ed.gov

President’s Budget Expands Education Freedom, Protects Vulnerable Students

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Education today released the Administration’s budget request for the 2019 fiscal year. The budget builds upon President Donald J. Trump’s commitment to expand education freedom for all families and return power to local leaders.

“The president’s budget request expands education freedom for America’s families while protecting our nation’s most vulnerable students,” said Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “The budget also reflects our commitment to spending taxpayer dollars wisely and efficiently by consolidating and eliminating duplicative and ineffective federal programs that are better handled at the state or local level. I look forward to working with Congress to pass a budget that puts students first and returns power in education to where it belongs: with states, districts and families.”

Full story at ed.gov

Improved Borrower Defense Discharge Process Will Aid Defrauded Borrowers, Protect Taxpayers

WASHINGTON – After careful review to ensure a fair and efficient process, the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) today unveiled an improved discharge process for borrower defense to repayment (BDR) claims.

“We have been working to get this right for students since day one,” said Secretary Betsy DeVos. “No fraud is acceptable, and students deserve relief if the school they attended acted dishonestly. This improved process will allow claims to be adjudicated quickly and harmed students to be treated fairly. It also protects taxpayers from being forced to shoulder massive costs that may be unjustified.”

For pending claims, no changes were made to the existing approval criteria. Claims that previously would have been approved will still be approved today. However, rather than taking an “all or nothing” approach to discharge, the improved process will provide tiers of relief to compensate former Corinthian students based on damages incurred.

Full story at ed.gov

Concerns Mount Over K-12 Education Plans

As states cement education plans for their schools under the federal K-12 law, the Department of Education is working furiously to assess them amid mounting concerns about states’ commitment to following the law, their proposals to ensure historically disadvantaged students have access to quality education, and the department’s capacity – and in some cases, lack of desire – to police it all.

The Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, gives states new flexibility to create accountability systems that suit their unique needs. Those plans must be vetted and cleared by the Department of Education before states begin implementing them in the near future.

The process has been somewhat tumultuous, triggering concern from across the education spectrum about how Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and department officials would review each submission.

Full story at US News

Trump, Congress, and Education in 2018: Eight Big Questions

There’s plenty of suspense heading into President Donald Trump’s second year in office when it comes to education, and some big issues on the horizon for the GOP-controlled Congress as well.

What will be the fate of the U.S. Department of Education’s budget? Will U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos get to applaud any new school choice initiative? And will Congress prevent hundreds of thousands of “Dreamers” from being deported?

Here’s a rundown of what to watch for in Washington over the next 12 months when it comes to K-12:

Will the Education Department get a $9.2 billion cut?

Way back in the spring, Trump proposed slashing the Education Department’s roughly $68 billion budget by $9.2 billion. He put some key programs on the chopping block, including Title II, a $2 billion program that helps states train teachers and reduce class size, as well as the 21stCentury Community Learning Centers program, a $1.1 billion after-school and summer learning program.

Full story at edweek.org

DeVos Calls for ‘Major Shift’ In Higher Education

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Tuesday called for a “major shift” in higher education – one that prioritizes programs like apprenticeships over four-year college degrees.

“For decades now, we have given the subtle, or not so subtle, message that the only path for a successful life is a four-year degree,” DeVos said at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council conference in Washington.

“There is really no traditional student anymore,” she said, underscoring the small percentage of high school graduates who enroll full time in a four-year college and graduate within four years.

Full story at US News

Department of Education Issues New Interim Guidance on Campus Sexual Misconduct

Washington — Building on her remarks from September 7, 2017, regarding the Department’s commitment to protecting all students from discrimination, today U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced the release of a new interim Q&A for schools on how to investigate and adjudicate allegations of campus sexual misconduct under federal law.

“This interim guidance will help schools as they work to combat sexual misconduct and will treat all students fairly,” said DeVos. “Schools must continue to confront these horrific crimes and behaviors head-on. There will be no more sweeping them under the rug. But the process also must be fair and impartial, giving everyone more confidence in its outcomes.”

In the coming months, the Department intends to engage in rulemaking on Title IX responsibilities arising from complaints of sexual misconduct. The Department will solicit comments from stakeholders and the public during the rulemaking process, a legal procedure the prior administration ignored.

Full story at ed.gov