Honored Social Butterfly

Betsy DeVos strikes out — in court

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Judges have rebuffed the education secretary’s attempts to pause or change a range of Obama-era policies.


Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ attempts to swiftly roll back major Obama-era policies at her agency are hitting a roadblock: federal 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.


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