New Officer in the Education Department

The Education Department has named Jamienne S. Studley as a deputy under secretary of education.  A former president of Skidmore College and a former top lawyer for the U.S. Department of Education, her job will be to help implement President Obama’s higher education plan, aimed at accountability, accessibility, and affordability.

The plan itself has been highly criticized and reviewed.  The president has asked that students attending higher ranked schools can obtain more federal funding than students who attend lower ranked institutions (see this link for a general overview) . Regardless of the plan, I am interested in what her new position actually entails, and how successful the education department may be in receiving funding.

According to the highly reputable wikipedia, the office of the Under Secretary of Education is “responsible for helping to implement the Secretary’s Action Plan for Higher Education, which calls for expanding the accessibility, affordability, and accountability of higher education for more Americans.”

So Ms. Studley, as deputy, is responsible for implementing the secretary’s action plan.  A further look at wikipedia reveals that her job is primarily to focus “on K–12 education policy, such as No Child Left Behind, the High School Initiative, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  The Deputy Secretary also has responsibility for carrying out the intergovernmental relations of the Department.”  However, she will be working with the Higher Ed system and the disparity in socio-economic status of students at universities, and not just the K-12 education system, though that also needs serious reform.

She is seen as a gunner, but someone who can play fair – the President and his staff believe she can play the middle ground to get things done in Congress.  But what vexes me is how the budget crisis funnels in to this.   If the government shutdown occurs next week, which is incredibly likely, the Washington Post predicts that the Education Department will lose 94% of its funding.  That is enough to keep a grand total of 212 employees working on processing paperwork and distributing money already allocated for October 1.  Other than that, it seems nigh impossible that any money will be trickling down to the education department for the new plan.  So how will Studley be able to make moves if she can’t get money?  Something to keep an eye out for.

Erica M


2 responses to “New Officer in the Education Department”

  1. legprocess says :

    I tried to figure out how much money the Education Department actually lost now that the shut down is occurring, but because half of the websites that would give me a viable number are down, I had no such luck in finding my answer. I do think the timing of all this is very interesting. I’m not sure when exactly Studley was named deputy under secretary of education, but it could it have been done so knowing the shut down was imminent? If she can and does play fair like many say she will, could the shut down, or its hopefully soon resolution give her the perfect in to play both sides and implement what needs to on a fairly quick timeline? Or was this all a coincidence?

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