« Betsy DeVos Says There's a Higher Education 'Crisis,' But Experts Dispute Her Explanations | Main | Trump Education Team to Examine if Students in 'Dangerous' Schools Are Able to Transfer »

Ed. Dept. Watchdog to Look Into DeVos Team's Oversight of ESSA, Dismissal of Civil Rights Complaints

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Department-of-Education-exterior-flag-blog.jpg

The U.S. Department of Education's internal watchdog—the Office of the Inspector General—will be looking at the agency's process for dismissing civil rights complaints. The plan was revealed in an agenda for 2019 posted on the inspector general's website.

The department recently revamped its process for investigating potential civil rights violations. The Obama administration looked at every complaint for potential evidence of systemic discrimination. The Trump team is only planning to do that in certain cases.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and company have said that this will help resolve more cases quickly, but civil rights groups are worried that investigators may miss the bigger picture.

And the OIG will examine the department's oversight of state accountability systems developed under the Every Student Succeeds Act, paying special attention to how schools are identified and improvement plans. Democrats in Congress, including Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the incoming chairman of the House education committee, worry that some states aren't taking the performance of vulnerable students into account in flagging schools for improvement.

The OIG is also planning to determine whether the Education Department is properly overseeing the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, the $1.1 billion block grant created under ESSA.

The program is relatively new and can be used for a wide variety of purposes, including school safety, counseling, arts education, and college- and career-readiness.

In addition, the inspector general will be looking into how the department is managing $2.5 billion in disaster recovery funds, which were allocated to help K-12 school districts and collages affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, or Maria, or the 2017 California wildfires.

How does the OIG decide what to investigate? The agency receives suggestions from department leaders, the Office of Management and Budget, and members of Congress.

Photo: Swikar Patel for Education Week


Don't miss another Politics K-12 post. Sign up here to get news alerts in your email inbox.

Follow us on Twitter at @PoliticsK12.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments