March 01, 2018

New Warren-Clark Report: DeVos Tenure has been a Boon for Shady For-Profit Colleges, Student Loan Companies, and School Privatization Advocates

First "DeVos Watch" Annual Report Card Details How Education Secretary has Failed America's Students

Link to report (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Katherine Clark today unveiled the first "DeVos Watch" annual review. The 17-page report finds that Secretary DeVos's major actions during her first year in charge of the U.S. Department of Education has been a boon for for-profit colleges, student loan companies, and advocates of school privatization at the expense of America's K12 and college students. The report reveals that Secretary DeVos's actions have raised serious ethical questions, prioritized for-profit colleges over student borrowers, weakened traditional public education in favor of non-public schools, and reversed civil rights protections for students.

On February 7, 2017, Betsy DeVos became Education Secretary despite having absolutely no experience as a school teacher, school administrator, or public official - and despite her long record bankrolling politicians and supporting policies that are damaging to public education. She also had no experience personally or professionally dealing with the $1 trillion federal student loan program. To conduct ongoing oversight of the Department of Education, Senator Warren launched "DeVos Watch" in May 2017.

"Betsy DeVos is the worst Secretary of Education this country has ever seen -  by a large margin," said Senator Warren. "Secretary DeVos has spent her first year bending over backwards to allow students to be cheated, taking an axe to public education, and undermining the civil rights of students across the country. Secretary DeVos has failed in her job and she must be held accountable."

"Secretary DeVos gets an 'F' for failing to protect our promise to America's students," said Representative Clark. "DeVos's attacks on public schools and underserved students show us a clueless, out-of-touch Secretary of Education who is more interested in profits for privatization advocates and predatory lenders than making sure all of our kids have a fair shot at a great public education."

The report found Secretary DeVos's actions harming students and student loan borrowers are being tainted by her own potential conflicts of interest and those of key personnel she has hired - including her Senior Counselor and a former Special Assistant. Secretary DeVos has rolled back relief for students who were ripped off by predatory for-profit colleges and exposed struggling loan borrowers to high collection fees. She has rolled back rules ensuring that colleges taking federal student loan dollars are held accountable for student outcomes and has weakened oversight of predatory for-profit colleges.

Secretary DeVos has also spent her time in office meeting with school choice and privatization advocates, while largely ignoring the needs of public school students and teachers. She's undermined key protections for public school students, proposed budgets that contain massive cuts for public education and huge giveaways to private and religious schools, and weakened enforcement of civil rights protections by the Department's Office for Civil Rights.