Department

Tennessee Department of Education has 33% turnover rate under Schwinn

Under the leadership of Commissioner Penny Schwinn, Tennessee’s Department of Education and its affiliates have experienced turnover of one-third of its employees, department data shows.

Since Schwinn took office as commissioner in February 2019, a total of 405 employees, or roughly 33 percent, have left the department. The vast majority of employees leaving the department have resigned – about two-thirds of the total number.

Since last February, 116 employees have resigned from the department’s central office, 19 have retired and 26 were terminated. As of this month, 391 employees remain in the department’s central offices.

A total of 244 employees left the departments’ subsidiaries, including the Achievement School District, State Board of Education, the Energy Efficient Schools Initiative, School Support Services program and the Tennessee Early Intervention System.

In the first nine months of Schwinn’s leadership, the turnover rate at the agency was about 18 percent, an increase from

Read More

Department of Education sends mixed messages on transgender student protections

The Trump administration said it plans to investigate alleged discrimination against LGBTQ students following this summer’s landmark Supreme Court rulings that said sexual orientation and gender identity are protected traits under existing civil rights law — but only in certain circumstances, according to documents released by the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights.

In updated guidance posted via a letter to various Connecticut schools, the Education Department said transgender students still can’t play on school sports teams that correspond with their gender identity and instead should be assigned to teams that correspond with their biological gender at birth.

At the same time, in a separate case, the department said it agreed to investigate claims of discrimination based on sexual orientation where a student alleged “homophobic bigot[ry]” at her school.

Sunu Chandy, the legal director at the National Women’s Law Center, said the two moves by the department are “totally at

Read More

University of Maryland names an academic department after the American abolitionist

The University of Maryland has honored Harriet Tubman by renaming an academic department after her.



Harriet Tubman posing for the camera: American abolitionist Harriet Tubman.


© MPI/Archive Photos/Getty Images
American abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

“It is my honor to announce a major milestone in our university’s history: the first honorific naming of an academic department at UMD, the Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies,” UMD president Darryll J. Pines said in a letter on Friday.

The American abolitionist and activist was born into slavery, but escaped. She later organized and carried out missions to free other enslaved Black people in the United States.

“Historically, Black women have played a brave and critical role in social justice. Harriet Tubman’s life and her dedication to freedom and equality speaks directly to the department’s mission, now and in the years ahead,” Pines said.

The university department is renown for its “unique concentration in Black feminist thought and intersectionality,” Pines said,

Read More

Education Department clarifies Trump executive order on student loans

Those are the same terms Congress agreed on in the last stimulus package. Lawmakers suspended education debt payments through Sept. 30 after the Trump administration in March gave borrowers the option of postponing payments for at least 60 days as the pandemic battered the economy.

As the deadline approached and Congress was unable to reach an agreement on an extension, Trump stepped in this month. But the president’s order created more questions than it gave answers about how the suspension would be applied. And by giving borrowers the option of halting their payments, rather than making the process automatic, and ignoring the treatment of loans in default, consumer advocates worried that many would fall through the cracks.

On Friday, the department addressed many of those concerns, though others remain. Chief among them is that the order still excludes more than 7 million borrowers whose federal loans are held by private

Read More