Devos’ Education Department on Steroids

 In Social Commentary

Incorrect margins, wrong-size font, improper use of double-spacing— three ridiculously trivial reasons why Trump’s Education Department under the leadership of Betsy I-Hate-Public-Schools Devos turned down applications for federal grants from dozens of colleges, universities and organizations to operate their Upward Bound programs.

Launched the summer of 1965 during President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” Upward Bound was the idea of Stan Salegtt, a civil rights organizer, national education policy advisor, and one of the creators of the Head Start Program. Upward Bound has a stellar reputation for assisting young people from poor families to prepare for college. Today, more than 62,000 low-income, first-generation, and rural high schoolers benefit from the program. In 2014, 86% of Upward Bound students who graduated from high school, enrolled in college.

Amid the uproar from school administrators over Devos’ strict enforcement of the formatting rule, she quickly issued a memo in late April 2017 informing her staff that grant requests will no longer be rejected for formatting errors in the 65-page application. That sounds good, right? Wrong.

Devos also told her staff that the applications turned down for these formatting errors are not to be revisited. This means that the next round of applications for Upward Bound grants will not be held for another FIVE YEARS! The Education Department received 1,592 grant applications for Upward Bound funding, and accepted 1,222 for review. Of that number, the Department rejected 77 for failing to conform with formatting guidelines. As a result, some schools will now have to shut down their Upward Bound programs.

We must not allow a program that has assisted our neediest students for 57 years to perish. Call or write Betsy Devos to demand that those 77 applications be accepted for review. The futures of thousands of our students are at stake.

Betsy Devos, Secretary

U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202

(202) 401-3000

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