Educators, students file lawsuit against Education Department, DeVos

From the National Education Association

Educators and students, backed by the National Education Association and the California Teachers Association, Thursday sued the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos after they moved to illegally delay rules meant to protect students enrolled in online education programs.

The individual plaintiffs, NEA and CTA are represented by the National Student Legal Defense Network, a nonprofit organization that advocates for student rights through litigation. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenges the Education Department’s delay of requirements for online universities of their legal obligation to notify students that the programs in which they’re enrolled or plan to enroll in may fail to meet state licensing standards or may face adverse actions from the state or accreditor.

As enrollment in online courses and degree programs has grown exponentially over the last decade, the Department of Education, under DeVos’ mandate, took the shocking step of rescinding protections for students pursuing online degrees — protections students need now more than ever.

“It’s shocking but not at all surprising that the Department of Education would roll back student protections because this latest brazen attack on student rights is consistent with everything we have seen from the Trump administration and Secretary Betsy DeVos,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “Without these rules, current and prospective students will remain in the dark. Students will be denied critical information about which programs are right for them and which would be a waste of their time and money.”

In December 2016, the Department of Education issued the state authorization rule to protect students who were studying in online, distance or correspondence programs. The rules were scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2018. Instead of letting these protections go into place, DeVos delayed for months and then illegally rescinded them.

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The complaint is available at http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/1-main.pdf.