Home | About | Donate

After Arbitrary Grant Denial, Montana Senator Tries Tit-for-Tat Tactic With DeVos


#1

After Arbitrary Grant Denial, Montana Senator Tries Tit-for-Tat Tactic With DeVos

Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

Outraged that a formatting mistake may cost disadvantaged Montana students their chance to earn a college degree, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) has come up with a creative way to force Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to reconsider: Hold her salary hostage.

Last month, the U.S. Education Department (DOE) rejected dozens of grant applications to the federal Upward Bound program over minor formatting problems. The University of Montana (UM), which had requested $1.7 million—$340,000 a year from 2017 to 2022—was among them.


#2

Unfortunately, Betsy is richer than God and will hardly notice. Plus, I'm sure she stands to profit nicely from privatizing education.


#3

Right. Just like some of the Bush (Crime) Family profited from "No Child Left Behind."
As if they care one iota.


#4

It's a start.


#5

This is actually a pretty ridiculous article. The Department of Education has refused to read applications that had formatting errors for YEARS. It's ridiculously unfair. It's the equivalent of giving someone a "0" on a dissertation and not even reading it because there was a word misspelled on the 83rd page of text. They don't just take off points for a formatting error. They trash it. Or at least they DID until DeVos.

The Upward Bound instructions were approved and published BEFORE DeVos was in office. They were approved under the Obama administration, in fact, and just judged at about the time DeVos was being confirmed. She probably had no clue this was the policy - she was new on the job at the time.

After the mess with UB, she released a memo that essentially says that Dept of Ed program grant instructions can SUGGEST formatting expectations but cannot refuse to judge them outright. Judges can deduct points for formatting but they do have to consider the requests.

This is huge, because most of their awards are only offered every few years, so it's critical that schools have the opportunity to be given feedback about their applications. With UB, missing out on a judging cycle means that the first time you could maybe get some feedback is five years down the road.

Also, their application instructions are notoriously difficult to follow. It's not like there is a single page that says, "Formatting!" at the top. They sprinkle formatting expectations throughout their many-page (sometimes 100+) documents. It's easy to think you understand what they want to see, only to find out five pages later that you only had part of the instructions. It's extremely frustrating.

All this to say that Betsy did the RIGHT thing in the wake of this round of UB proposal rejections. I kind of suspect that some Obama holdovers at the Dept of Ed decided to go harder on some applications than they had in the past just so a stink would be raised. Maybe it's because they wanted DeVos to take the blame. Maybe it's because they saw an opportunity to create a fuss so that the rules might be changed for the next time. I have no clue. I just DO know that the formatting rules that say any improper formatting will result in a grant being rejected before being read is at least 15 years old, and they follow their own rules all the time. At least for the grant programs I've written to.

So Go Betsy, I say, for making the rule change that will prohibit this from ever happening again... and also for having re-visited the applications that were rejected by the UB judges!


#6

Could you please give references to the memo that indicates the Mrs.DeVos did release a memo doing what you claimed she did. I can not find any reference to any such memo on google or the Department of Ed's web site.
I thank you in advance for your sharing of such information.