To anyone paying attention, it is very clear that draining the swamp is going to be very difficult since the swamp is very deep and there are a lot of people in it. The swamp has also been muddied by a former President who continually acted as a sovereign king who did not need Congress to solve all of the nation’s problems. He and his bureaucrats just issued orders that furthered a specific agenda.
A prime example of this philosophy is an Obama administration Title IX policy. In 2011, the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights construed Title IX, which bars sex discrimination, as mandating that colleges and universities take a series of actions meant to prevent and punish “the sexual harassment of students, including sexual violence.” This policy prompted campus administrators to set up disciplinary tribunals that lack basic due-process protections for the accused.
The Office of Civil Rights instituted rules on cross-examination and appeals. There was informal pressure on schools to institute a ‘single-investigator model’ that turned one person appointed by the school’s ‘Title IX Coordinator’ into a detective, judge and jury.
There was great pressure for schools to show they were “getting tough” on sexual assault.
The guidance letters from the Office of Civil Rights were not even formal regulations. Therefore, that department bypassed the public notice and comment rule-making process required by the Administrative Procedure Act. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has promised that this would not happen again.
Due process should not be a liberal or conservative issue and Mrs. DeVos is not alone in recognizing the problems of the policy put into place by Mr. Obama. But those on the left who support these policies are furious. They want her to enforce Title IX “fairly.”
Mrs. DeVos has made clear her determination to enforce Title IX fairly so as to combat the new normal of discrimination against accused students as well as any residual discrimination against accusers.
Mrs. DeVos’ correction of an Obama overreach is one more move in her tackling the problems in the American education system. Of course, because of her efforts, the liberal education society in America hates her. They have accused her of wanting to bring down the public education system. She has done no such thing. She has continued in her belief that choice in education is for the benefit of students which involves supporting charter schools and private schools.
Mrs. DeVos has stated the following: “The reality is, for many students today, they have no choice in the K-12 system and I am an advocate for giving those students more choices – and I’ve been an advocate for giving those students more choices – and I’ve been an advocate for them for 30 years.”
This attitude drives the teachers union crazy. However, the public school system is not written in our constitution. Choice is something that so many on the left cannot tolerate.
This is not to imply that all teachers are unconcerned about their students. However, it is good to remember that the animosity against Betsy DeVos has a number of reasons and should be examined carefully before assuming that she is an enemy of education.
-- Edelweiss Geary, Chair, Sonoma County Republican Party