Amid Protests, DeVos Outlines Intentions, Praises Community Colleges

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DeVos Outlines Policy Intentions. U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gave remarks to the Association of Community College Trustees’ National Legislative Summit. During her remarks, DeVos praised the work of community colleges, calling them “essential engines of workforce and economic development.” Diverse: Issues In Higher Education reports that she promised that community colleges will play a key role in the president’s agenda for workforce development. She also said community colleges would be consulted regarding reauthorization of the Perkins Act and Higher Education Act. DeVos praised early college programs and increased flexibility regarding Pell Grants. Large protests have confronted DeVos during her first week on the job. She is now being accompanied by the U.S. Marshals Service. She addressed protestors and their issues during her speech, saying she saw the interest as encouragement. The day before, during a speech at the Magnet Schools of America 2017 National Policy Training Conference, she expressed disagreement with protester’s approach.  She also released a press statement expressing her intention to restore

DeVos Gives Interview on Federal Role in Ed. In an interview with Axios, DeVos gave greater detail about her approach to higher education and the role the federal government can play. She said she would like to see the federal government play less role and she would support the elimination of the Department of Education, eventually. DeVos said she believe that four-year degrees are not doing a good job of serving students, and that vocational training may be a better option preparing for work. She also said she hopes to reduce the federal education budget, the Chronicle of Higher Ed reports.

Education Meeting at the White House. President Donald Trump and DeVos met with a group of 10 teachers and parents at the White House, the Washington Post reports. Trump targeted “failing schools” in his comments, especially in the African-American community. He also said his administration wants “every child to have a choice about where they go to school.”

NACIQI Meeting this Week. The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) will meet for three days in Washington D.C. to review accreditation processes. The NACIQI meeting will also address the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). The commission was stripped of its accreditation authority by the Department of Education and given six months to correct issues.

Ed Bills Pass Senate, Ready for President’s Approval. The Senate passed two education bills this week, both which had already passed the House in this Congress and may now be signed by the president. The Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act, introduced by Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), would authorize the National Science Foundation to encourage its entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world.  The INSPIRE Women Act, introduced by Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), would direct NASA to target programs to women and submit a report to Congress.

Research on State University Admissions. The Education Commission of the States released research which found that 29 states have either statewide or systemwide admissions policies for their public four-year colleges and universities.

John Kerry takes Role at Yale. Former Secretary of State John Kerry will join Yale University in a new position, distinguished fellow for global affairs. Kerry graduated from Yale in 1966. He will lead an initiative aimed at tackling pressing global challenges through teaching, research and international dialogue, the Washington Post reports.

Study on Data and Graduation Rates. Georgia State University released the results of a study on the use of data to boost graduation rates.

We publish the DC Shuttle each week featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of Feb. 21, 2017. For more information, please visit:


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