News

28,000 Public Servants Sought Student Loan Forgiveness. 96 Got It.

by Stacy Crowley

09.27.18   A program intended to wipe away the student loans of qualifying public servants has rejected more than 99 percent of those who applied, according to a government audit that found that "fragmented" management and "piecemeal" operating instructions had contributed to the failure to forgive more debt. The Education Department said last week that 28,000 borrowers had submitted applications to have their debts canceled since the public service loan forgiveness program began accepting them a year ago… Continue Reading


Teen Health-Worker Proposal Didn’t Get Risk Assessment

by Jaclyn Diaz

09.26.18   A controversial Labor Department proposal to ease restrictions for teenage workers in health-care settings will be published Sept. 27, without updated scientific research about the risks. The proposal would allow 16- and 17-year-olds who work in nursing homes or hospitals to operate, without supervision, machines that lift patients from beds. The proposal references a 2011 report on patient lifts and teen workers by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. It said teens who u… Continue Reading


Few graduates working in public service have received expected break on loans

by Susan Svrluga

09.26.18   An initiative designed to help college graduates who choose low-paying public-service jobs pay off their student loans is run in a confusing and piecemeal fashion, according to a government report. As a result, many borrowers are left wondering whether their federal student loans can be forgiven. Only a small number of people have had their debt discharged under the program, according to the Government Accountability Office, despite large numbers of college graduates applying for loan forgivene… Continue Reading


Members Of Congress Are Demanding Answers From The Trump Administration On Its Coal Mine Deal

by Chris Hamby

09.24.18   Members of Congress have demanded documents related to an unprecedented settlement in which the Trump administration lifted a strong penalty for a repeat violator of coal mine safety laws. In a letter to the head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, two Democratic representatives, Bobby Scott of Virginia and Mark Takano of California, said the settlement appeared to violate federal law. The letter also demanded an explanation for the initial attempts to shield the agreement "from the p… Continue Reading


Top Democrat Asks GOP for Hearing in Congress on Puerto Rico's Schools

by Andrew Ujifusa

09.20.18   In a Thursday letter, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the ranking Democrat on the House education committee, said the panel should hold a hearing with the U.S. Department of Education on the status of schools in Puerto Rico, which are still grappling with the consequences of the storm on educators, students, and communities, as well as storm-damaged schools in the U.S. Virgin Islands. "With recovery far from over, members of the Committee and the American public should have the opportunity to hear di… Continue Reading


Federal mine safety official warned the Trump administration is putting miners in danger, violating law

by Suzy Kimm

09.17.18   Two days before his term ended, a member of the independent federal commission overseeing mine safety accused the Trump administration of an "unlawful" action that he warned could endanger the "lives of the nation's miners." Robert F. Cohen, whose term expired last month on the mine safety and health panel after he served under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, alleged in a scathing dissent that Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta had undertaken an illegal move cutting back on a wor… Continue Reading


As Progressives Think Big, They Should Think More About Child Care

by Jonathan Cohn

09.13.18   Medicare for all. A federal job guarantee. Free college tuition. All of these ideas are favorites among progressives and likely to figure prominently in the campaign for the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nomination. But there's another idea that might belong on that list ? one that is every bit as ambitious and, arguably, every bit as critical to society's well-being, although it hasn't gotten nearly the same attention. That idea is a dramatic expansion of child care assist… Continue Reading


If Democrats Take the House, Here's What Awaits Betsy DeVos, Civil Rights, and ESSA

by Andrew Ujifusa

09.09.18   If Democrats take control of the House of Representatives next year, expect civil rights to grab the spotlight and for congressional subpoenas in the name of education oversight to become more popular. But you may not see as much of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as some might think. The bad blood between Democrats and the Trump administration started, well, right at the start, when they clashed with Betsy DeVos in that now-famous confirmation hearing more than 18 months ago. And Democ… Continue Reading


DeVos Punts to Congress on Federally Funded Guns for Schools

by Erica Green

09.06.18   Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has left it to Congress to decide whether states can use federal funds to purchase firearms for their schools, prompting congressional Democrats to begin a last-ditch effort to restrict those funds. Conservatives said Ms. DeVos's stance was consistent with her championing of local school control. But Democrats and advocates denounced her decision as a tacit endorsement of federally funded firearms in schools, and federal policy experts saw the move as an abdicati… Continue Reading


Apprenticeship Programs Need Accountability, House Dems Say

by Andrew Wallender

09.05.18   House Democrats cautioned Republicans that industry-created apprenticeships aren't a replacement for the Department of Labor's Registered Apprenticeship program. The remarks came at a Sept. 5 subcommittee hearing on rebuilding the workforce that looks at how the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act affected apprenticeships. "We must ensure that while encouraging industry input in apprenticeships, there is also accountability to taxpayers, apprentices, and businesses," Rep. Susan Davis… Continue Reading


Critics outraged over DeVos' decision that could help arm school personnel

by Suzy Kimm

09.04.18   Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says she has "no intention" of taking action against schools using federal grant money to purchase guns - a decision that leaves it up to states to decide how such funding should be used and that infuriated gun-safety advocates. DeVos disclosed her position in an Aug. 31 letter to Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., following the news that the Education Department was considering a proposal to allow school districts to use federal funds known as Student Support and Academic… Continue Reading


Betsy DeVos Won't Be "Taking Any Action" to Stop Schools from Purchasing Firearms With Federal Funding

by Lauren Rearick

09.01.18   Education secretary Betsy DeVos has announced that she will not prevent school districts from using federal funds to purchase firearms or conduct firearm trainings at their schools. In a letter sent to Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia, that was tweeted on Friday, August 31, DeVos told Scott, a ranking member of the committee on education and the workforce, that she has "no intention of taking any action concerning the purchase of firearms or firearms training for school staff under the [Elementary … Continue Reading


House Democrats Push Betsy DeVos To Reject Funding For Guns In Schools

by Laura Meckler

08.28.18   House Democrats are urging Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to make clear that a federal grant program cannot be used to buy firearms for schools. In a letter being sent to DeVos on Tuesday, 173 out of 193 Democrats in the House argue that DeVos has the authority to say no to such spending and that close examination of the law that governs the grants suggests she should. "Arming teachers would not only jeopardize student and staff health and safety, but also run counter to Congressional intent,… Continue Reading


Top student loan official at consumer agency quits over Trump policies

by Michael Stratford

08.27.18   The top official overseeing student loans at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau resigned on Monday in protest of Trump administration policies that he said were harming students and families. Seth Frotman, the student loan ombudsman at the CFPB, said in a letter to acting Director Mick Mulvaney that political leadership at the consumer bureau over the last 10 months had repeatedly undermined efforts by career employees to take action against abuses by student loan companies and for-profit… Continue Reading


Betsy DeVos Eyes Federal Education Grants to Put Guns in Schools

by Erica Green

08.23.18   WASHINGTON - The Education Department is considering whether to allow states to access federal funding set aside for academic enrichment and student services to purchase guns for educators, according to multiple people with knowledge of the plan. Such a move would reverse a longstanding position taken by the federal government that it should not pay to outfit schools with weapons. And it would also undermine efforts by Congress to restrict the use of federal funding on guns. As recently as Marc… Continue Reading


A Loophole That Could Let States Buy Teachers Guns With Federal Funds

by Adam Harris

08.23.18   During a listening session on live television in February, President Donald Trump, surrounded by students and parents directly affected by school shootings, offered a bold suggestion. He highlighted a coach who had died protecting students just one week prior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. "If he had a firearm, he wouldn't have had to run, he would've shot, and that would've been the end of it," he said. "If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well e… Continue Reading


Betsy DeVos is considering allowing schools to use federal money to buy guns, report says

by Emma Ockerman

08.23.18   Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering allowing states to spend federal dollars to buy firearms for educators as a protective measure against a rash of school shootings, multiple people with knowledge of the plan told the New York Times. Congress already passed a bill in March that allocated $50 million to local school districts for safety purposes each year, although that program prohibited the purchasing of firearms. If the U.S. Department of Education wanted to allow schools to acce… Continue Reading


Trump’s Education Department moves to rescind rule aimed at for-profit schools

by Nick Anderson

08.10.18   The Trump administration set in motion Friday the repeal of an Obama-era regulation that sought to ensure students attending career programs mainly at for-profit colleges do not pile up debt they can't repay. The 2014 "gainful employment" rule caps the debt former students amass in those programs in relation to their income after leaving school. Programs that breach the limits over multiple years could be shut out of federal student aid funding, putting schools in financial peril. When the rul… Continue Reading


Students’ math scores drop for years after using a private school voucher in country’s largest program

by Matt Barnum

08.09.18   Low-income students who use a voucher to attend private school in Indiana see their math scores drop for several years as a result, according to a new study. The findings are a blow to the argument that poor students benefit from the choice to attend a private school, a policy championed by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. "Our results do not provide robust support that the [voucher program] has been successful to date at improving student achievement for low-income students who us… Continue Reading


Democrats: Show Us the Science Behind Child Labor Rule

by Ben Penn

08.01.18   The Trump administration might be moving to let teenagers work in health-care jobs that involve "hazardous" machine-operated patient lifts, without relying on updated scientific research about the risks, dozens of House Democrats say. "We are unaware of any formal review by" the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health on this proposed rule, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and 46 other Democrats said in an Aug. 1 letter to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and Office of Management and Budg… Continue Reading

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