U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has long been one of the Trump Administration’s most controversial Cabinet members. Due to her prolific historic involvement as a private citizen in advocating for pro-charter school and pro-school choice measures, DeVos has consistently come under intensive assault from teachers unions.
DeVos has acted swiftly and repeatedly to undo some of the Obama Administration’s notoriously anti-school choice, anti-charter school measures. But now, reports Politico, much of DeVos’s reform-minded efforts are being stifled by the courts:
Judges have rebuffed DeVos’ attempts to change Obama policies dealing with everything from student loan forgiveness to mandatory arbitration agreements to racial disparities in special education programs.
As a result, the Education Department is being forced to carry out Obama-era policies that the Trump administration had been fighting to stop — stymying DeVos’ efforts to quickly impose a conservative imprint on federal education policy over the past two years.
The latest legal blow came earlier this month, when a federal judge ruled DeVos illegally postponed a regulation requiring states to identify school districts where there are significant racial disparities among the students placed in special education programs. And last week, Education Department officials began implementing a sweeping package of Obama-era student loan policies after DeVos lost a lawsuit over delaying them last fall.
The department already had to forgive $150 million in student debt under those policies, which DeVos argues are too costly to taxpayers and unfair to colleges. Department officials also directed colleges to stop requiring students to sign mandatory arbitration agreements, forcing them to implement an Obama-era policy that largely bans the practice.
More legal challenges are in the pipeline. A federal judge allowed a challenge to DeVos’ delay of rules governing online colleges to proceed. And a lawsuit over the Trump administration’s delays of the Obama administration’s signature regulations aimed at cracking down on for-profit colleges is ripe for a decision at any time.
In many ways, the efforts of the judicial #resistance to thwart the DeVos’ education reform efforts are redolent of the broader judicial war upon the Trump Administration. As I wrote in a Daily Wire op-ed two weeks ago:
In an era in which lower courts run amok serve as a one-way ratchet for the progressive agenda, and in which “but judges!” and “but Gorsuch!” seem to be the preeminent rallying cries for large swaths of the “conservative” base, there is perhaps an even more profound problem. When legislators, bureaucratic mandarins, and citizen-activists alike of all political stripes are complicit in the delegation of power to unelected black-robed oracles behind the bench, the ultimate risk is civic in nature.
What We the People ultimately risk losing, besides our ability to govern ourselves and direct our own political destiny, is the citizen-driven associative industriousness and civic virtue that made Tocqueville so fond of the American experiment. …How are we to remain duty-minded and constantly vigilant against tyranny if that tyranny comes not in the form of legislators and executives who can be held accountable at the ballot box, but in the form of judicial usurpers who accomplish with the stroke of a pen what the political and cultural Left could not otherwise accomplish over the span of decades?