RICH BITCH* BETSY DEVOS AND HER ORWELLIAN DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
ROLLBACK OF STUDENT AID RULES RESHAPES HIGHER EDUCATION
If you're a bit fuzzy about the meaning of the term "doublespeak" which is a co-mingling of two terms that figured prominently in George Orwell's masterpiece "1984" "doublethink" and "newspeak," you don't need to go online and look up the definition in Webster's online dictionary. No. In fact, all you need to do is to listen to the mouthings of Trump's Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, and the meaning will become immediately and crystal clear. In fact, I'll make it even easier for you. Here's a few quotes from Ms. DeVos and Education Department slugs addressing her campaign to "reform" the Department of Education:
"The Secretary's priority is to put students' needs first, and the department is committed to doing just that."
"Too many students have gotten caught up in a convoluted and confusing process set up by the previous administration."
"It is our aim to make sure students are protected from predatory practices, taxpayers are protected and universities and colleges have clear, fair, and balanced rules to follow."
"If you have to summarize the actions that we've seen so far from the Department of Education, it's an effort to reduce the Federal footprint."
DeVos frames her reform changes as "Necessary alterations to complex policies."
"It doesn't make a lot of sense to simply amend a 50-year-old law [the Higher Education Act of 1965]. "Adding to a half-century patchwork will not lead to meaningful reform. Real change is needed."
Just in case you aren't aware of what Trump Secretary of Education, Ms. DeVos is doing, she is - just like the rest of the Trump Administration - undoing the real reforms that were instituted during the Obama Administration to protect students from predatory loan companies practices, close down worthless, for-profit, private colleges and institutes that did not provide a basis for gainful employment and to provide relief from the crushing debt ($1.3 Trillion Dollars) students currently hold. Ms. DeVos and her minions are, however, couching their rollback in such doublespeak that it boggles the mind.
Putting students needs first? By allowing worthless for-profit colleges to continue taking Federal loan money from students and providing them with worthless certificates and degrees? Yeah, right. The Obama Administration instituted a review of graduates success rates in obtaining a job in the alleged field they received their degree in by a certain period of time or else the institution got decertified. A few - like the mammoth Corinthian college network were forced out of business.
Students getting caught up in convoluted and confusing processes? Sure. I would suspect that applying for and getting college loans are not exactly a simple tasks. Even more complicated is paying for student loans after graduation and in some cases getting those predatory loans forgiven is most likely not a simple task as well. Yes, this is what the "convoluted and confusing process" instituted by the Obama Administration that DeVos is complaining about. This loan forgiveness process - as convoluted and confusing as it might be - is the only means that student loan holders can get out from under debt from a predatory, for-profit college after receiving a worthless degree that did not lead to a job or gainful employment, as the Obama Administration termed it. This "convoluted and confusing" program is what her Department wants to eliminate.
Protection from predatory loan practices? DeVos has voiced sympathy with for-profit colleges who complain that the Obama Administration reforms were designed to "cripple their schools." They complain that the "gainful-employment" rule was overly burdensome. It might be worth noting, however, that 98% of the programs that failed to meet the rules' guidelines, were private, for-profit colleges. What the Obama Administration did was to create standards by which to evaluate the effectiveness of the education students received at for-profit colleges and end decades of private colleges bilking their students and the Federal government out of billions of dollars.
Complex process? Well I suppose just like Health Care, education is "complicated." I'm betting that students are willing to go though a complex, convoluted and confusing process in order to get their student loans relieved. Particularly since there is no other option.
If you recall last year's Presidential Election, you will remember that both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton had proposals on student debt that even went so far as to proposed free college tuition just as most Western European nations do. But then we got Trump. I'm pretty certain that DeVos, just like Trump, never had to worry about getting, much less repaying, college loans. DeVos' net worth is estimated at $5.1 billion according to Forbes magazine. She is also a vigorous proponent of charter schools, voucher programs and religious schools. It looks as if we are seeing the rebirth of the Unfettered Capitalist Free Market Economics model when it comes to higher education just as we are seeing the same when it comes to the environment.
This is where we came from. Rising tuition costs, higher debt for students wanting to attend college, the proliferation of worthless for-profit colleges and institutes, and the decreasing ability of ordinary Americans to afford to attend college is what the Obama Administration through its "convoluted and confusing" processes was trying to reform. This was true reform that during the short time it prevailed helped students and closed down worthless for-profit educational institutions that were only interested in ripping off their students and the taxpayers through student Federal Loans. Anyone who thinks that these were not "good things" simply doesn't deserve to be called an American.
But Betsy DeVos and her "reform" efforts are all about undoing the progress made in the educational arena during the Obama Administration. Nothing more. Nothing less. She and the Department of Education can "doublespeak" their pseudo-reform efforts all day and all night but they cannot hide behind words to disguise the heartless cruelty towards America's students and the damage they will cause to American society. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos stands right next to EPA's Scott Pruitt for abject cruelty and the extensive damage they will cause.
NOTE: The article that gave rise to this post is here: EDUCATION DEPARTMENT ROLLBACKS
* I apologize to all women on the planet for using this term but in this case I believe it's warranted.