Archive for November, 2018

Post-Election School News

Friday, November 30th, 2018
high school in southern California

high school in southern California

The House of Representatives flipped this month, giving Take Care Schools hope for better legislative results for public school students. Even so, several steps have been finalized by Betsy DeVos and the United States Department of Education (DOE) that are not decisions to cheer for.

After issuing a few details at a time all year, on November 17, 2018, the new sexual assault regulations have been overhauled and released by Superintendent of Education, Betsy DeVos. With a few words of support to protect victims, the main support is regulation changes for the accused and, above all, to reduce the liability to schools. The institutions can choose a higher standard for evidence of sexual attack or abuse and establish an appeals process for the accused that allows cross-examination. All of these regs will help schools not be found in violation of Title IX and susceptible to the threat of pulling federal funding (although that has never happened). The rules will go into effect after a 60-day comment period.

Betsy DeVos lost in a decision by the court in favor of the Attorneys General of 19 states in September 2013 concerning student loan procedures. Problems with the DOE’s enforcement of regulations for student loan servicing is still being discovered, this time posted by the Associated Press on November 20, 2018. It has been found that Navient, the third largest provider of student loans, drove borrowers into higher-cost repayment loan procedures. After the DOE found indications of deception by Navient, the department argued that they don’t have jurisdiction to admonish or litigate the issue. Attorneys General for California, Illinois, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Washington filed lawsuits on behalf of students who were offered 3-year maximum forbearance (with interest accumulating) or the repayment plan. Other possible plans were not mentioned, breaking student loan regulations.

Furthermore, the Department of Homeland Security has expanded the definition of “public charge” (someone deemed likely to depend on the US government for subsistence). With the proposal, again open to public comment until December 10, immigrant families must choose between a green card and access to basic needs like food, shelter, and health care. What will happen to children in school? Damage to emotional stability and health will lead to difficulties in learning.

Finally, on Friday, November 23, 2018, the administration released The Fourth National Climate Assessment. The administration continues to ignore the report’s disclosures and to roll back environmental regulations, claiming that fewer rules touching industry will improve the economy. Surely pollution will increase. Particulate matter from fire and poor air quality keeps students inside, not allowing recess and physical education and increasing respiratory illness. Lead in drinking water and groundwater brings neurological problems which leads to more special needs help in schools. New studies have shown that pollution affecting mothers also affects their unborn fetuses which later affects the child’s chances to succeed in academic learning.

In the face of these decisions and studies, by the winter holidays students and teachers will have completed a third of the 2018-2019 school year. After the New Year, let’s hope for better outcomes.