Trump signed an executive order on education Wednesday as he participated in a federalism event with governors at the White House.
The executive order is aimed at decreasing the role of the federal government in education while giving states and local school districts more power over decision-making.
DeVos has 300 days “to review and, if necessary, modify and repeal regulations and guidance issued by the Department of Education with a clear mandate to identify places where D.C. has overstepped its legal authority,” said Rob Goad, a Department of Education official.
The order could lead to less federal oversight and accountability over public schools.
In recent remarks to the National Association of State Boards of Education, DeVos promised to get the federal government out of the way of school policy.
DeVos is a strong advocate of privatizing children’s education through charter schools (which are publicly funded but privately operated) and school vouchers (which allow parents to use public funds to send children to private schools).
“If you’re getting federal dollars to run your charter school, then you should be held to some standard. But that hasn’t happened in Detroit,” Ivy Bailey, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, told NBC News in February.
The president’s move to reduce the federal government’s role in education ignores the historical evidence that states and local governments don’t always act in the best interest of all its students, especially racial minorities and the poor.
Left on their own, states and municipalities could enact discriminatory practices. Education still needs the support of the federal government because some states fall short once given control; federal intervention can give students rights when states refuse to and because the federal government can help raise the standard of education for all states.
Federal guidance is needed to measure how well students are learning across the country and to establish a standard for academic performance.