Influence & Access at the Department of Education

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is frequently absent from work - and her calendars and staffing choices raise serious questions about the level of influence that the charter school and for-profit college industries may have at the department.

What We’re Seeking:

  • Records to shed light on the influence that for-profit and online colleges have on the agency and policy considerations.
  • Records related to Liberty University containing communications between Secretary DeVos and James Manning, or other officers, employees, or representatives of Liberty University.
  • Education’s discipline policy priorities and its decision to revoke Obama-era guidance on school discipline, especially in light of reports highlighting discipline disparities experienced by black students.  
  • Records related to the decision to roll back the Borrower Defense Rule and the Gainful Employment Rule that previously protected students from fraud.
  • Records and communications related to the establishment or activities of the School Safety Commission, which was formed in response to gun violence in schools but has since focused on repealing school discipline policies that protect marginalized students.
  • Records regarding responses to the teacher strikes that took place in early 2018 and communications with the State Policy Network, a group with ties to Secretary DeVos that has been engaged in campaigns to discredit the strikes.
  • Calendars for all senior political appointees, including Secretary DeVos.
  • Calendars, call logs, recusals, or ethics waivers for senior officials Taylor Hansen or Robert Eitel.

Background:

American Oversight is investigating the influence that Secretary DeVos has allowed for-profit schools and other outside entities to have on the department and its policies.

During her first year in office, Betsy DeVos proved that she was unqualified for the job as Secretary of the Department of Education and was out of touch with everyday Americans–just as many thought when DeVos was first nominated. American Oversight obtained copies of her calendars, which revealed that she spent her first six months in office  focusing on charter schools, religious schools, and other non-public educational institutions–and took frequent long weekends.

We’re investigating the influence that for-profit colleges and religious institutions, like Liberty University, have on Education’s policy priorities. In light of Education’s decision to roll back the Gainful Employment Rule, the Borrower Defense Rule, and Obama-era guidance on school discipline practices, American Oversight is seeking records to determine the extent to which outside special interests influenced these changes.

Related Documents

July 27, 2018

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Calendar – July 2017 – June 2018

Department of Education
Agency Record
June 13, 2018

Department of Education Political Appointee Calendars

Department of Education
Agency Record
April 30, 2018

FOIA to Education Regarding Education’s School Discipline Priorities

Department of Education
FOIA Request
April 30, 2018

FOIA Regarding the Influence of Large Online Colleges on Education’s Policy Priorities

Department of Education
FOIA Request
April 30, 2018

FOIA to Education Regarding Liberty University’s Influence

Department of Education
FOIA Request
April 30, 2018

FOIA to Education Regarding Senator Alexander and the HELP Committee

Department of Education
FOIA Request
April 27, 2018

FOIA Seeking Communications Regarding Education’s Rulemaking Subcommittee

Department of Education
FOIA Request
April 27, 2018

FOIA Seeking Communications Related to the Borrower Defense Rule

Department of Education
FOIA Request
April 27, 2018

FOIA to ED Seeking Communications with Outside Groups Related to the Borrower Defense Rule

Department of Education
FOIA Request
April 27, 2018

FOIA to Education Seeking Communications and Calendar Entries Related to the Borrower Defense Rule

Department of Education
FOIA Request
April 27, 2018

FOIA to ED Seeking Communications Regarding the Borrower Defense Rule with the Executive Office of the President

Department of Education
FOIA Request
April 27, 2018

FOIA to Education Seeking Decision Memos Regarding the Borrower Defense Rule

Department of Education
FOIA Request
April 27, 2018

FOIA to Education Seeking Decision Memos Regarding the Borrower Defense Rule

Department of Education
FOIA Request
April 27, 2018

FOIA to Education Seeking Communications Regarding Teacher Strikes

Department of Defense
FOIA Request
April 27, 2018

FOIA to Education Seeking Communications with the State Policy Network

Department of Education
FOIA Request
April 27, 2018

FOIA to Education Seeking Education’s Position on Teacher Strikes

Department of Education
FOIA Request
April 19, 2018

FOIA to ED Seeking Communications Regarding Student Loans

Department of Education
FOIA Request
March 6, 2018

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Senior Staff Calendars from January – July 2017

Department of Education
Agency Record
March 5, 2018

Department of Education Emails Regarding Eitel and Hansen Recusals

Department of Education
Agency Record
February 13, 2018

FOIA Seeking Additional Production of DeVos/ Education Calendars

Department of Education
FOIA Request
January 2, 2018

FOIA to Education Regarding Civil Rights Investigations

Department of Education
FOIA Request
October 27, 2017

Motion for Extension and Opposition to Motion American Oversight v Department of Education

Department of Education
Litigation
October 27, 2017

Status Report American Oversight v Department of Education Calendars

Department of Education
Litigation
October 23, 2017

No Records Response From Education Regarding Gainful Employment – Congressional Communications

Department of Education
Agency Reply
October 20, 2017

FOIA to Education Department for DeVos Calendars

Department of Education
FOIA Request
September 18, 2017

FOIA to Education Regarding Gainful Employment – Industry Communications

Department of Education
FOIA Request
September 18, 2017

FOIA to Education Regarding Gainful Employment – Congressional Communications

Department of Education
FOIA Request
September 18, 2017

FOIA to Education Regarding Gainful Employment – White House Communications

Department of Education
FOIA Request
September 15, 2017

Opposition to Motion for Extension: American Oversight vs. Department of Education

Department of Education
Litigation
September 15, 2017

Motion for Extension: Department of Education

Department of Education
Litigation
August 23, 2017

No Responsive Records from Department of Education Regarding DeVos Reimbursements for Hotel Stays

Department of Education
Agency Reply
July 24, 2017

FOIA Request to Education Seeking Reimbursements for Hotel Stays at DeVos Properties

Department of Education
FOIA Request
June 21, 2017

FOIA Request to Department of Education Communications Between Senior Officials and Falwell, Jr.

Department of Education
FOIA Request
June 21, 2017

FOIA Request to Department of Education Communications Between Senior Officials and Lamar Alexander

Department of Education
FOIA Request
April 11, 2017

FOIA Request to Education Seeking Information about Taylor Hansen or Robert Eitel

Department of Education
FOIA Request
April 11, 2017

FOIA Request to Education Seeking Calendars and Call Logs for Secretary DeVos

Department of Education
FOIA Request
April 10, 2017

FOIA Request to Education Seeking Policies or Guidance Regarding the Provision of Information

Department of Education
FOIA Request