- President Donald Trump's process to fill out top positions at the U.S. Department of Education has lagged that of Barack Obama by as much as nearly eight months to as little as two weeks, Education Week reports, and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has noted the additional burden it has placed on staff while blaming paperwork delays for the holdup.
- Positions with yet-to-be-approved nominees include Deputy Secretary (former South Carolina ed chief Mick Zais); Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Analysis (Student Success California Director Jim Blew); General Counsel (former Florida Deputy Attorney General Carlos Muñiz); Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs (Peter Oppenheim, former aide to Sen. Lamar Alexander); and Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical and Adult Education (Michigan state Rep. Tim Kelly).
- A number of positions are also still awaiting nominees, including Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Innovation and Improvement, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and Director of the Institute of Education Sciences.
The slow pace of filling roles at federal agencies hasn't been limited to the Education Department. As the Guardian noted this summer, Trump had only made 61% of the nominations Obama had by July 19 during their respective administrations, 67% of those made by George W. Bush, 81% of those made by Clinton, and 87% of those made by George H.W. Bush. Trump has previously blamed Congressional Democrats for slowing the process, but nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service President Max Stier told the Guardian that the president has been behind the curve on sending nominations to Congress to begin with.
At the Education Department specifically, there's no shortage of work that more hands on deck wouldn't be able to help expedite. Perhaps most notably, the department is still approving states' Every Student Succeeds Act plans, with all plans now in and over half of states currently awaiting a green light.