DeVos Takes, Johnston Running In CO, Mead On Obama Early Ed, Hill On Rural, Higher Ed Outcomes, Higher Ed Coauthoring, Swamp Draining, And More!

Sara Mead on the Obama early education legacy. Five questions for Betsy DeVos.

Michael Johnston running for governor in Colorado.

Emma Brown takes a look at the Ed Department and what’s next. This John King quote is pretty succinct and to the point:

“States’ rights and civil rights have not generally traveled together in the history of the United States,” [Secretary of Education John] King said. “That’s not a partisan point, that’s a fact.”

The article also dances around the idea that Obama undermined the Department of Education through an aggressive federal role. It’s bad history. More than a few people hated the 1994 Clinton law and fought efforts to enforce it, and you may recall that No Child Left Behind wasn’t beloved by the establishment (it was the first ESEA law that key groups took a non-portion or opposed). So while some of the Obama polices weren’t popular with the establishment that disdain was not unprecedented. Perhaps the key issue is that any education policy with teeth on accountability and related issues splits the Democratic coalition between civil rights groups, reformers, and the education establishment in various ways. Happily for Democrats, the President-elect seems likely to paper all that over for a while.

Speaking of the incoming administration, a Long Betsy DeVos profile in Politico. A bit of context. Part of the DeVos / Engler disagreement the story highlights owed to differing views about how much Republicans should respond to urban concerns given voting patterns in Michigan (and more generally). DeVos believed then, and apparently now, in an all-kids approach whether or not they vote Republican. Given the reality of choice politics in Congress, especially where federal categorical programs are involved, costs and debates over means-testing and all the rest, that’s an important issue to watch and a place where misalignment seems likely among various Republican players. Second, the article states that it’s basically love/hate her in Michigan. That may give her some chance of a D.C. reset if she gets out of the shadow of her boss because here in D.C. when you get outside of the professional advocates a lot of people are taking a wait and see approach and want to see what she has to say at her hearings – although there is universal agreement she needs a strong #2 at the Department to be successful given its sprawling scope of authority and operations. Third, from the article:

If Engler thought he had anointed a rubber stamp, he quickly learned otherwise. In January 1997, DeVos cleared house, unilaterally firing all of the party’s top directors and pausing all contracts with vendors, blaming them for the party’s losses months earlier. “Betsy regarded the governor’s input as good advice, not an order,” Greg McNeilly, a close associate of Betsy DeVos, told an Engler biographer years later. “That’s when the problems started.”

Apparently DeVos made this clear to the President-elect in their interview and he responded well to it. But given their different views on some things and the political constraints he will soon be under that’s a dynamic to watch, too.

Paul Hill on rural.

The Obama Administration opened itself up to criticism by focusing on for-profit colleges, which have plenty of problems but are hardly the only problematic part of the higher education sector in terms of value for money. Kevin Carey on why that’s coming up again as they head out the door:

The fact that [Harvard] was caught in a regulatory net devised to protect students from exploitative trade schools suggests that even the most prestigious colleges may not be paying enough attention to whether their degrees are worth the price of admission.

Came across this paper the other day, does co-authoring disadvantage women more than men?

DC-area swamp draining.

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