Betsy DeVos' education department moves to reduce civil rights investigations in schools



Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will be downsizing the number of investigations it conducts into possible civil rights violations throughout the public school system, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

According to an internal memo issued by acting DOE office of civil rights director Candice E. Jackson, the Times wrote, investigators at the agency will no longer be required to "broaden their inquiries to identify systemic issues and whole classes of victims." They have also been instructed it is no longer mandatory to alert D.C. officials of "all highly sensitive complaints" like allegations of racial discrimination or failure to properly investigate campus sexual assaults.

As the Times noted, DOE investigations soared after Barack Obama's administration put an emphasis on systemic reviews and major reforms at school districts and colleges. Donald Trump's budget proposes cutting more than 40 jobs at the DOE civil rights division, while department spokeswoman Liz Hill emphasized the agency's new focus on efficiency in investigations in a statement.

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Ivanka Trump and Betsy Devos visit Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
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Ivanka Trump and Betsy Devos visit Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Ivanka Trump stands with students at an astronaut exhibit during visit to the Smithsonian?s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, U.S., March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Ivanka Trump view an exhibit during a visit to the Smithsonian?s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, U.S., March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Ivanka Trump speaks during a visit to the Smithsonian?s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, U.S., March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Ivanka Trump touches a piece of moon rock at an exhibit at the Smithsonian?s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, U.S., March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Director of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Jack Dailey, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Ivanka Trump speak during a visit to the Smithsonian?s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, U.S., March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Ivanka Trump greets female students highlighting the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics while touring The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos March 28, 2017 in Washington DC. Trump and DeVos toured the museum as part of Women's History Month. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Ivanka Trump tours the Air and Space Museum during an event highlighting women who study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics March 28, 2017 in Washington DC. Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos toured the museum as part of Women's History Month. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Ivanka Trump delivers remarks at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum during an event highlighting women who study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics March 28, 2017 in Washington DC. Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos toured the museum as part of Women's History Month. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Ivanka Trump tours the Air and Space Museum during an event highlighting women who study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics March 28, 2017 in Washington DC. Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos toured the museum as part of Women's History Month. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Ivanka Trump delivers remarks at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum during an event highlighting women who study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics March 28, 2017 in Washington DC. Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos toured the museum as part of Women's History Month. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Ivanka Trump tours the Air and Space Museum during an event highlighting women who study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics March 28, 2017 in Washington DC. Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos toured the museum as part of Women's History Month. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Ivanka Trump greets female students highlighting the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics while touring The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos March 28, 2017 in Washington DC. Trump and DeVos toured the museum as part of Women's History Month. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Ivanka Trump greets female students highlighting the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics while touring The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos March 28, 2017 in Washington DC. Trump and DeVos toured the museum as part of Women's History Month. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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The decision to roll back investigations comes not long after DeVos suspended Obama-era rules designed to make it easier for students to discharge loans for deceptive or fraudulent for-profit colleges. Jackson also recently defended new policies on the rights of trans students after one employee told the Huffington Post "officials should investigate issues of discrimination just as they would have before the Obama-era rules were implemented."

Jackson is the self-described "libertarian feminist" formerly best known for accusing 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton of being a "rape enabler." As the Washington Post noted, Jackson's connections with women who had accused Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, of sexual misconduct "became an asset" for Donald Trump's campaign after video surfaced of Trump bragging about assaulting women.

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