Trump Cronies Are Running the U.S. Department of Education

by Dianne Ravitch on March 28, 2017

(This piece first appeared in the Diane Ravitch’s Blog)

Laura Chapman discovered the list of staff hired to work at the U.S. Department of Education. All of the appointments to date are political cronies of Trump or DeVos. None of the high-level positions, which require an ethics review, have been filled. No educators have been appointed to any position.

Chapman writes:

I have been trying to find out who is probably running the show at USDE. Here is a reasonably current list with the GS grade for the appointment. GS-07 means at minimum a bachelor’s degree. I have no idea what the post “Confidential Assistant” means, but it is certainly not a hallmark of transparency in governance. These seeme to be the “crony” positions.

Derrick Bolen-Confidential Assistant to the Secretary-GS-07 Liberty University graduate, BS in Political Science and government. 2016. Trump campaign regional field director for Virginia’s Roanoke and New River Valley region. Tweets offensive but who cares, not the President.http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/trump-appointees-minorities-women-234315

Michael Oberlies-Confidential Assistant to the Secretary-GS-11 No information

Patrick Shaheen-Confidential Assistant to the Secretary-GS-11 Field director for both the NH Republican State Committee and Americans for Prosperity.

Gillum Ferguson-Confidential Assistant to the Secretary-GS-12 Former staffer for Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas, 4th)

Beatriz Ramos-Confidential Assistant to Secretary-GS-12 Florida’s “coalitions director” for the Trump campaign

Alexandra Hudson-Special Assistant to the Secretary-GS-13 Lead Education Policy Analyst at Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty … Sales Associate at Kohl’s Department Stores, Tutor of political science, graduate of the London School of Economics. Writer for the Federalist.

Deborah Cox-Roush-Special Assistant to the Secretary-GS-15 Trump Inaugural committee. Owner of DCR Creative Solutions of Florida, “an advocacy consulting and events Management Company.” Florida Grassroots Director for the Trump campaign (she previously worked for Rubio). Graduate of Georgetown College, BA in History/Education, 1976.

Kevin Eck-Special Assistant to the Secretary-GS-15 Former director of operations for the Indiana Public Charter Schools Association.

Holly Ham-Special Assistant to the Secretary-GS-15 Former sales executive at Hewlett Packard and Program Advisor to the Trump presidential campaign.

Ronald Holden-Special Assistant to the Secretary-GS-15 Assistant Dean of Students/Director of Diversity and Inclusion at University of Mount Union.

Amy Jones-Special Assistant to the Secretary-GS-15 Former CEO of Professional Development and Accountability at NYC Department of Education.

Andrew Kossack-Special Assistant to the Secretary-GS-15 Former commissioner, Indiana Department of Revenue, was Policy Director for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, prior staff for Governor Mike Pence.

Cody Reynolds-Special Assistant to the Secretary-GS-15 Former Trump campaign staffer

Eric Ventimiglia-Special Assistant to the Secretary-GS-15 Legislative aid and constituents relations manager for the Michigan House of Representatives. Oakland University, BA in Political Science in 2007.

Jerry Ward-Special Assistant to the Secretary-GS-15—Former Alaska state Senator

Patrick Young-Special Assistant to the Secretary-GS-15- No information

Here are the official at USDE posted on website as of March 24, 2017. This list is quite different from the cronies list above.

Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education
Kathleen S. Tighe, Inspector General, Office of Inspector General
Jason K. Gray, Chief Information Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer
Tim Soltis, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Delegated the Duties of the Chief Financial Officer
Phil Maestri, Director, Risk Management Service
Janet Scott, Director, Office for Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
James W. Runcie, Chief Operating Officer, Federal Student Aid

All of the following positions at USDE are listed as vacant.

Deputy Secretary
Under Secretary
General Counsel, Office of the General Counsel

Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director, Office of English Language Acquisition
Assistant Deputy Secretary, Office of Innovation and Improvement

Assistant Secretary, Office for Civil Rights
Assistant Secretary, Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education
Assistant Secretary, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
Assistant Secretary, Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs
Assistant Secretary, Office of Management
Assistant Secretary, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development
Assistant Secretary, Office of Postsecondary Education
Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

Director, Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
Director, Educational Technology
Director, Institute of Education Sciences
Director, International Affairs Office

Executive Director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education
Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans
Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans
Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Performance Improvement Officer

On April 3, 2014 about twenty states will be submitting to USDE their ESSA compliance plans. I think these will probably be unopened and just sit “somewhere” because nobody seems to be in charge of Elementary and Secondary Education. These plans run 150 pages or more and are supposed to be “approved” by someone at USDE after they are thoroughly reviewed.

It is Amateur Hour and “Ask a Trump Crony” time in this and other administative offices. These are the components of the “administrative state” that Steve Bannon and Trump intend to “deconstruct.” That destruction appears to be the job of the cronies, not people competent to make reasoned judgments.

Filed under: Labor & Education

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