The federal government and U.S. Department of Education set a general tone and direction for the education industry. As the Trump administration prepares to assume office, Betsy DeVos is preparing to lead the DOE.
DeVos will play a critical role in the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the school choice debate, Common Core and many other important issues that will impact everything from funding to which resources are used in classrooms.
Even if your organization is not politically active, what is decided in Washington, D.C., will impact your firm and most importantly, your customers and their students. It’s critical to be well informed and have a plan to set into motion. Here are three steps to help you prepare for working with DeVos’s DOE.
1. Reach out to your contacts at the Department. During the transition between administrations, many agency staffers leave, especially when the White House shifts to a different party. With this in mind, it is good idea to reconnect with the individuals you already know and work with on a regular basis.
This is not an appeal for a favor, just simply re-establishing contact to inquire about future professional plans and to ask for insights they might have into the future direction of the Department or their division. If they are planning on staying into the new administration, this is an extremely valuable relationship to maintain. While your competitors may be seeking to establish connections with new contacts, you’ll already have an existing relationship with a staffer who you know and trust. If your connection is leaving the Department, then it’s time to develop relationships with other staffers.
If you’re not sure if your contact is staying, check the Plum Book, a listing of every appointed government role in the new administration, for details.
Whether you re-establish a connection with key staff members or learn that you need to make new friends, it is imperative to gain knowledge about the incoming leaders.
2. Learn about incoming Secretary DeVos. President-elect Trump’s appointment generated shock waves in the education industry. Assuming DeVos is confirmed, she will lead the incoming administration’s education policy and initiatives. Every firm in the sector should learn about her positions on big topics such as school choice and Common Core, as well as issues that directly affect your organization.
There are a few simple steps you can take today to begin learning more about DeVos. First, read some of the reporting and analysis on her past comments and work from national news outlets such as The Washington Post and education trade media outlets such as Education Week. Set up Google or Talkwalker Alerts to receive links to news stories that mention both DeVos and your specific education interests. As her confirmation hearing approaches, you’ll see more news coverage and it’s likely she will make more public comments.
During her confirmation hearing, DeVos will answer questions from Congressional representatives from both parties, which should provide further insights into her views on the industry and where she wants to take the DOE.
3. Get (or stay) involved, and become personally active in issues that affect your company.
Join industry associations that align with your goals and share a common vision for issues impacting education and government policy. Leading organizations like SIIA, CoSN, ISTE and SETDA have a powerful voice in Washington, D.C., and the respect of the industry.
Change can only happen when everyone works together for a common goal and joining an organization is one way to have a voice for issues that matter to you.
Prepared for a new DOE and administration? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about other steps you can take to promote the ideas that are important to you and your organization.