DC Shuttle …
DeVos Comments on Undocumented Students Highlights House Hearing. The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on the U.S. Department of Education and heard testimony from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. The Education Department had to clarify controversial remarks DeVos made about undocumented students. DeVos said that it is up to individual schools to decide whether to call U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement if they suspect their students are undocumented. DeVos was responding to a question from Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) about whether she thinks school leaders should call ICE on students or their parents. “I think that’s a school decision, it’s a local community decision,” DeVos said. “I refer to the fact that we have laws and we also are compassionate. I urge this body to do its job and address and clarify where there is confusion around this.
Accrediting Agency Recognition Process Comes Under Fire. A group of Senate Democrats wrote a letter asking DeVos to explain why she reinstated the federal powers of a large accreditor of for-profit colleges that was terminated by the Obama administration. After a federal judge ruled earlier this year that the Obama Education Department illegally failed to properly consider some evidence submitted by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), DeVos restored the accreditor’s federal recognition. She promised a longer-term review of the decision. The Democrats write they are concerned that DeVos used the court ruling as a “pretext to ignore the significant and damning record” of evidence against ACICS. The court ruling, they note, ordered the case back to DeVos but did not explicitly instruct her to reinstate the accreditor. The lawmakers ask DeVos to explain how she plans to proceed on the issue. The National Student Legal Defense Network and Harvard Law School’s Project on Predatory Student Lending filed another Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Education Department relating to ACICS. They asked a federal judge to force the department to release the roughly 36,000 pages of evidence submitted by ACICS that the judge ruled that former Education Secretary John B. King Jr. improperly failed to consider in terminating the accreditor. The Inquisistr reports.
Senate Agrees to Vote on Ed Dept Civil Rights Nominee. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate has reached an agreement to debate and vote on President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the top civil rights official at the Education Department. The Senate decided by unanimous consent to set 10 hours of debate over the nomination of Kenneth Marcus to be assistant secretary of education for civil rights. A confirmation vote will follow. Marcus is the president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law. He previously served as the acting assistant secretary of education for civil rights during the George W. Bush administration. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved Marcus’s nomination on a party-line vote in January.
Report on Massachusetts Higher Education. The nonprofit Education Reform Now released a new report called, “No Commencement in the Commonwealth: How Massachusetts’ Higher Education System Undermines Economic Mobility for Latinos and Others–And What We Can Do About It.”
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 May 29, 2018. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.