Trump Transition … Plus Unchartered Territory?

DC Shuttle …

Transition Team Expected to Visit Education Department this Week. President-Elect Donald Trump’s transition team is expected to visit the U.S. Education Department this week. Landing teams will work with federal agencies on the transition and are being launched in three waves. The Education Department and other domestic agencies such as the Department of Labor and the EPA are part of the third wave, likely to start early this week.

Speculation Surrounds Secretary of Education Appointment. Names have been floated for the position of secretary of education including: former Indiana Gov. and current Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, former Indiana Superintendent Tony Bennett, and U.S. Rep. Luke Messer, a former state representative who served as executive director for School Choice Indiana, and former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee. Success Academy founder Eva Moskowitz said Thursday she didn’t want the job. Some have been supporters of Common Core, which Trump vowed during the campaign to repeal. Common Core opponents wrote a letter urging Trump to follow through on his campaign promise to end “Common Core support at the federal level.”  Dr. Ben Carson and Lisa Graham Keegan have also been suggested for the education post. Lisa Keegan is the executive director of A for Arizona, an education project of the Arizona Chamber Foundation, and head of the education consulting firm Keegan Company. She’s also the former state superintendent of Arizona and was interviewed in 2000 for the job of education secretary by former President George W. Bush.

What to Expect from the President and Congress on Education Issues. Trump has proposed changes to the education system and is just beginning to detail the specifics of his priorities. He has proposed a $20 billion school choice plan which would allow vouchers to be used at public and private schools. Republican lawmakers say they want to see the Trump administration rein in the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights. The Hill reports that Rep.Tom Reed (R-NY) is putting together a plan to address college costs. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) is expected to be the next chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and some of her priorities can be found here. For-profit colleges may also see favorable treatment. Newt Gingrich, who has been helping with Trump’s transition, joined Republican lawmakers at an event hosted by the Career Education Colleges and Universities, which is the association representing for-profit colleges.

Campuses as Safe Zones. Educators will likely also be impacted by the incoming administrations immigration policy and many are preparing for increased discussion of student’s rights and deportation. Some schools have called for campuses to be “safe zones” but others point out that they have little authority to do so. Others have said they will not share data with the federal government regarding students’ status.

Legal Fund Launched for Charter Schools. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has launched a Charter School Legal Action Fund to serve as a “national watchdog and resource” when it comes to legal threats against charter school growth, funding, autonomy and constitutionality across the country. The Walton Family Foundation provided $500,000 in seed funding to help launch the legal action fund. On Nov. 8, Massachusetts voted against increasing its cap on charter schools in the state.

ESSA Brief. The National Association of State Boards of Education released a brief which details the changes that state school boards will face in their work to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Pell Report.  The Education Department estimates that in fiscal year 2016 it incorrectly calculated more than $2.2 billion in Pell grants, according to the department’s annual financial report released last week. The department said it had changed its calculating methodology, leading to the increase.

Teacher Prep Report.  The National Council on Teacher Quality says in a new report that state admissions standards for teacher-preparation programs rose between 2011 and 2015, but fell in 2016.

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 Nov. 21, 2016. For more information, please visit:


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