The Corner

An Odd Choice to Head Trump’s Education Transition Team

Trump’s pick for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, seems to fit his disruptive style. She gets that the educational status quo is lousy (clearly so with K–12, and it’s hard to imagine that she believes that higher ed is just fine) and will probably kick quite a few hornets’ nests. But far less encouraging is his choice to head up his education-transition team, James Manning.

As my friend Dick Bishirjian (a man who has done his share of disruption in higher education) explains, Manning fits the mold of an educational careerist. He served under Margaret Spellings in the Bush 43 administration, then worked in the Corporation for National and Community Service (which Bishirjian calls “an inside the Beltway organization that would only attract a careerist”) and also as acting chief operating officer of Federal Student Aid in the Obama administration. David Bergeron, an Obama educrat, has praised Manning.

Hard to see the slightest hint of disruptiveness in any of that.

Bishirjian sums up: “Manning’s appointment is troubling and one wonders who put an careerist from the Margaret Spellings era at the Department at the head of the Trump Transition Team for Education.” Thanks for sounding the alarm, Dick!

George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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