It's not every year that a new Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, becomes a household name, satirized on Saturday Night Live, never mind being the most unpopular member of a historically unpopular cabinet. But we live in interesting times and the nations' schools and colleges are no exception. Here's a look back at the major moments in education this year, and a glimpse of what's to come in 2018.
A lot of the flash points in our schools coverage this year had to do with civil rights and the experiences of minorities, including special education students and immigrants. Under DeVos, the department reversed many of the Obama administration's uses of the bully pulpit.
- Secretary DeVos rescinded Obama-era guidance on transgender rights, and as a result the Supreme Court rejected the case of student Gavin Grimm in Virginia, who sued his school to use the bathroom of his choosing.
- The department pulled back Obama-era Title IX guidance around sexual assault on campuses, with a new emphasis on the rights of the accused.
- We covered the winding down of the DACA immigration program and what would become of the DREAMers, many of whom are in high school or college.
- A March Supreme Court decision, before the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, cheered special education advocates who want higher standards for children with special needs. But as our coverage from Florida and Indiana showed, private schools often don't guarantee that they will serve students with disabilities. In June, Secretary DeVos repeatedly refused, under questioning, to say that she would require these schools not to discriminate.