U.S. Department of Education: Comparison of the Trump and Obama Eras

1999 words (8 pages) Essay in Education

05/08/19 Education Reference this

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In Article Ⅱ, Section 2 of the Constitution the cabinet is established. The cabinet is made up of the Vice President and the secretaries of 15 executive branch departments. It helps the president in carrying out his education policies and enforcing laws put in place by Congress. The Department of Education is a vital part of our society. Without it, our future leaders would not be educated or educated poorly. One of the main purposes is to, “strengthen the Federal commitment to ensuring access to equal educational opportunity for every individual.” The Department of Education was formed on May 4, 1980, in the Department of Education Organization Act; Section 102, Public Law 96-88. The department’s mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. The Department of Education is the smallest cabinet-level department. This year the president requested $9 billion or a 13 percent reduction from the 2017 budget. This would help the taxpayers, but it may affect the way the department uses the money. But the department has requested more grant money this year as opposed to last year. For example, in the Title Ⅰ Grants Local Educational Agencies They requested $15,881,500,000 as opposed to last years $14,881,500,000.

Betsy DeVos is the current secretary of the department of education. She has been the secretary since February 7, 2017, she won the vote with a 51-50 margin. This was the first time in U.S. history that a Cabinet nominees confirmation required a vice president’s [Mike Pence] historic tiebreaking vote to secure a cabinet post. DeVos has since proved her worth by revising President Barack Obama-era guidelines for student-loan debt relief and rules governing sexual assault cases on college campuses. Elisabeth Dee Prince was born in Holland, Michigan on January 8, 1958. Her parents Edgar and Elsa Prince were both very successful. Her mother was a public-school teacher at a local school near her childhood home. DeVos’s father was a wealthy businessman and that helped push her into the political spotlight. His wealth and influence of their local community helped her get into the eye of the people. Her mother was a big part in getting DeVos interested in education and its aspects. Her parents are also avid donors to very conservative groups such as anti-LGBTQ+ groups and that made her a bad guy with liberals. This also wasn’t helpful while she was running because she as well donated to these groups. Even though Betsy DeVos didn’t attend public school; all the DeVos children attend a private school. This sparked controversy for DeVos when running for department secretary; with no public-school education or any background in education, it was hard for some people to understand why or how she was fit for the position. This made pleasing people when she got into office much greater of a deal because of the number of people waiting for her to screw up then blame it on her lack of background. This would just give motivation to the newly elected secretary; as she went on to prove most people wrong by working to improve some of the biggest Obama-era controversies. Even though people doubted her because of her lack of experience in the educational community; Trump was able to look past all of that and see an advocate for what is right. She has been focusing on sexual assault case on college campuses. In fact, on August 29, 2018, DeVos proposed a new policy on campus sexual misconduct that would enhance the rights of students accused of assault, harassment or rape, reduce accountability for institutions of higher education and encourage schools to provide more backing for victims. This would make the “definition” of sexual harassment much smaller and only involving school when it has occurred on their campus. This law may only seem to apply to colleges, but it would also apply to elementary, middle and, high schools. The law also would protect teachers, administrators, and other school employees. This would make for a smoother legal process for not only the victim but also the school if it must get involved and quite possibly make the entire process more discrete which would benefit the current and future reputation of both the school and victim without sparing the rightful justice that would be applied to the accused.

While DeVos may be our current secretary during the Obama-era we had Arne Duncan. He became secretary on January 20, 2009 when he was confirmed into office by the U.S. Senate following his nomination by [at the time] President Barack Obama. Before becoming secretary of education, Duncan served as the chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools; a position he held from June 2001 through December 2008. His parents, Starkey and Susan Duncan, helped him achieve whatever Duncan wanted to do. For nearly 50 years Susan Duncan has run an after-school tutoring project out of church basements on the South Side of Chicago. Her work has helped kids from Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods, and inspired Arne to pursue a career in education. She continues to show up four days a week to help students. His father also helped his interest in education blossom being that he was a psychology professor. He attended the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. In 1987, he graduated from the Harvard University as a ‘magna cum laude’ with a degree in sociology. One of Arne’s main accomplishments was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s $100 billion that funded 325,000 teaching jobs. Arne Duncan was huge advocate for gun control in schools; he even went as fat as to tweet, “This is brilliant, and tragically necessary. What if no children went to school until gun laws changed to keep them safe? My family is all in if we can do this at scale. Parents, will you please join us?” He tweeted this after a shooting in Santa Fe, TX which left 10 students and many more injured. While this is a little extreme, he was putting his thoughts out for people to see. After he left office, he went on to work as a managing partner at the Emerson Collective, where he works to promote gun safety. In December of 2015 he helped pass the “Every Student Succeeds Act,” a replacement to the Bush-era “No Child Left Behind” law. This law was one that he said he would replace; when he was first elected which is something Duncan did his entire time in office. He was able to repeal, replace, or enact almost every law he said he would, fulfilling his promise to the people. Duncan also persuaded 42 states to implement education goals based on the Common Core, and 21 of those states use tests that directly correlate with those standards, which were created to make schools more challenging and the curriculum more similar from state-to-state. Like his successor Duncan also was a strong supporter of charter schools, helping cities such as Washington, DC and New Orleans, LA adopt them. Duncan also supported community colleges; working with Obama to help them become free and universal. Throughout his entire time in office he had Obama backing him; “Arne has dedicated his life to the cause of education — and sometimes in the nicest possible way, he has gotten on people’s nerves because he has pushed them and prodded them,” the president said at the signing of Every Student Succeeds Act. Arne helped to secure congressional support for President Obama’s investments in education, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s $100 billion to fund 325,000 teaching jobs. He has helped secure an additional $10 billion to avoid teacher layoffs. Duncan has helped secure increases in the Pell grant program to increase the number of young Americans attending college and receiving postsecondary degrees.

            The Department has been around since October 17, 1979. The U.S. Department of Education is the agency of the federal government that establishes policy for, administers and coordinates most federal assistance to education.  In 2007, the Department’s elementary and secondary school programs served roughly 55 million students attending 100,000 public schools and 34,000 private schools. Department programs also provided grant, loan and work-study assistance to about 10 million undergraduate students. Although the Department is relatively new, its origins goes back to 1867. President Andrew Johnson signed legislation creating the first Department of Education. However, due to concern that the Department would exercise too much control over local schools, the new Department was demoted to an Office of Education in 1868. While its time as a department was short lived it continued to give ideas on new teaching methods and many more things. Over the years, the office remained moderately small, housed in several agencies. Then in the 1950’s the need for education sparked when the Soviet Union’s sputnik launch was successful. The need for scientific education had never been more needed in history as we entered the space race. The 1960’s called for finial funding for students in poverty not only in elementary but also college. The 60’s merged into the 70’s when the need for programs that would give racial minorities, women, disabled, and non-English speaking children an equal education. In October 1979, Congress passed the Department of Education Organization Act (Public Law 96-88). The Department finally began operations in May 1980. The department started with a measly 4 employees and $15,000 budget in 1860 to a whopping 2,100 employees and a 1.5-million-dollar budget in 1965. The Department dispenses financial aid to qualified candidates for all stages of education.

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