Under DeVos, a Smaller Department of Education

"In an interview last month with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the TV personality John Stossel described the Education Department headquarters as huge -- the size of seven football fields -- but noted as he walked the halls with DeVos that many desks sat empty. That wasn’t happenstance," Inside Higher Ed reports. 

"'If you’re going to make a case to hire more people, you better have a really good reason,' DeVos told Stossel.

A little more than a year into the secretary’s tenure at the department, that stringent approach to new hires looks to have had an impact on staffing levels. DeVos now oversees a significantly smaller agency than the one she took over last year.

Between the start of the Trump administration and April of this year, the department has shed more than 550 workers and reduced its overall size by 13 percent, an Inside Higher Ed analysis of recent employee data found.

Those staff losses have occurred as DeVos is in the midst of a spree of deregulation, which requires heavy staff hours to review and negotiate new rules. And the agency has made do with fewer civil rights workers even as it says it’s looking to reduce a large backlog of federal complaints.

Department officials attribute those reductions to attrition and voluntary early retirement, not any policy decisions.

But former staffers at the agency say the Trump administration has made a choice to simply not fill empty slots after months of steady departures, making it more difficult for remaining workers who are increasingly stretched thin."

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Publication Date: 6/13/2018

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