This past Monday, the Trump administration announced their pick to lead the landing team at the U.S Department of Education: James Manning. The Chronicle of Higher Education believes this choice may bring calm to worried academics since he brings with him experience in federal student aid, postsecondary education and civil rights.
Manning has served as the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Education Secretary in the George W. Bush administration and as the acting Chief Operating Officer of Federal Student Aid in the Obama administration.
Along with many others, Manning has been cited as a possible choice for the Secretary of Education.
The Chronicle of Higher Education interviewed Jeffrey Andrade and David Bergeron, both of which worked alongside Manning. Andrade described Manning as an “operations guy” with skills navigating bureaucracies and as “a guy who keeps the trains running on time.” Bergeron said Manning’s appointment may have the ability to ease tensions between political appointees and current staff members at the Department of Education.
Manning’s appointment does bring along some baggage. During his time as Chief of Staff, the department was scrutinized for “loose financial oversight” and “fraudulent purchases” that were made by employees. When Manning was acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, some criticized the office for “weakening Title IX’s gender-equity requirements“.
As for those worried about Trump’s campaign comments on immigration, particularly in relation to students, the testimony Manning gave to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in 2007 eases some of their worries. “America must remain the primary destination for international students,” he said. “We must work together to make sure our nation’s institutions of higher education continue to be open to students from around the globe.”