Records of the Department’s Communications with Politico and the Office of the Federal Register

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueTitle IX
TrackingDFI No. 100-31-22
DateSep 22, 2022

On September 13, 2022, DFI submitted a FOIA request to the U.S. Department of Education for records of its communications with Politico and the Office of the Federal Register concerning public reporting of extreme variations in the numbers of public comments submitted regarding the Department's proposed NPRM concerning Title IX (Agency/Docket Number: ED-2021-OCR-0166). Politico had reported on September 6, 2022 (6 days before the end of the commenting period) that the total official number of comments was "more than 349,000." Politico's reporter correctly cited the official rulemaking docket. However, on September 8, 2022, the same official rulemaking docket indicated that just over 163,000 comments had been received (a decline of approximately 186,000 comments). On multiple days, the number of comments received fluctuated dramatically and without explanation. DFI's FOIA request is for the Department's records related to this significant reporting anomaly (which the Department has described as a "glitch").

  Request

Expedited Processing Request For DFI’s Title IX-Related FOIA’s

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueTitle IX
TrackingDFI FOIA Nos. 100-07-22, 100-08-22, 100-11-22, 100-12-22, 100-13-22
DateJun 23, 2022

On June 23, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education announced a notice of proposed rulemaking ("NPRM") to its Title IX regulations. Announcing the NPRM on the 50th anniversary of the enactment of Title IX, which prohibited sex-based discrimination in order to protect the rights of girls and women, ED's proposed changes would diminish the due process and privacy protections for accused students and faculty at American colleges and universities and would conflate Title IX's clear sex-based protections with elusive gender identity concepts. The proposal may lay the foundation for undermining the sex-based distinctions that have allowed biological girls and women to compete against other biological girls and women in scholastic athletic competitions. In March 2022, DFI submitted five Title IX-related FOIA requests for records related to the formulation of ED's then-pending NPRM. ED has not provided a single record, despite its statutory obligations. Today, DFI requested expedited processing of those FOIA requests for records by ED.

  Request

FOIA Request:  Records of GSA’s Communications with the U.S. Department of Education Regarding Creation of the National Parents and Families Engagement Council

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueDiversity, Equity, and InclusionEducation Freedom
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-30-22
DateJun 17, 2022

On June 14, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education announced the creation of the "National Parents and Families Engagement Council" and identified its initial fourteen organizational members (including Al Sharpton's "National Action Network" and UnidosUS - formerly the "National Council for La Raza"). The Council's membership appears to include organizations already known for supporting the Biden Administration's education agenda. ED's official announcement identified one of the Council's primary purposes as being a "dissemination vehicle" for information from the Department. In its current makeup and with its "dissemination" function, the Council may not be in compliance with the requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act ("FACA"). In its FOIA request, DFI seeks records from the General Services Administration, which oversees FACA compliance, regarding the establishment of the Council by ED.

  Request

FOIA Request: Records Regarding the U.S. Department of Education’s Creation of the National Parents and Families Engagement Council

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueDiversity, Equity, and InclusionEducation Freedom
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-29-22
DateJun 17, 2022

On June 14, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education announced the creation of the "National Parents and Families Engagement Council" and identified its initial fourteen organizational members (including Al Sharpton's "National Action Network" and UnidosUS - formerly the "National Council for La Raza"). The Council's membership appears to include organizations already known for supporting the Biden Administration's education agenda. ED's official announcement identified one of the Council's primary purposes as being a "dissemination vehicle" for information from the Department. In its current makeup and with its "dissemination" function, the Council may not be in compliance with the requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act ("FACA"). In its FOIA request, DFI seeks records regarding the establishment of the Council and the Department's communication with the General Services Administration ("GSA"), which oversees FACA compliance within the executive branch.

  Request

FOIA Request: Records of the U.S. Department of Education’s Communications with U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren Regarding Departmental Policies

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueBorrower DefenseCharter School ProgramEducation Freedom
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-28-22
DateJun 14, 2022

Since January 20, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education has embarked on radical policy changes in the areas of student loan debt, Title IX, proposals for free college, and freezing funding for the Charter School Program (among other policies). Many of the Department's policy changes reflect the education plan proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren in her 2020 presidential campaign. Some of Sen. Warren's top policy allies now serve in key roles at the Department. In its FOIA request, DFI seeks records of communications between Sen. Warren, her staff, and certain officials at the Department.

  Request

FOIA Request: Records Related to Teachers’ Union(s) Communications with the U.S. Department of Labor Concerning Overtime Pay Regulations

AgencyDepartment of Labor
IssueTeacher Unions
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-26-22
DateJun 3, 2022

The U.S. Department of Labor is currently reviewing regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") concerning minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. Particular teachers' unions have publicly demanded that the Department eliminate the teachers' exemption to overtime pay requirements and provide overtime pay to teachers, despite the current requirements of the FLSA. In its FOIA request, DFI seeks records related to communications by those teachers' unions with particular Department officials since January 20, 2021.

  Request

FOIA Request: Records Related to the U.S. Department of Education’s Communications with State Attorneys General Regarding Title IV Student Loan Program Policies

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueBorrower DefenseEducation Freedom
TrackingDFI No. 100-25-22
DateJun 3, 2022

Since January 20, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education has unilaterally initiated student loan debt cancellation policies involving more than $20 billion and it appears poised to continue to impose unprecedented student loan debt cancellation policies. Particular State Attorneys General have publicly demanded that the Department enact many of these dramatic policies. In its FOIA request, DFI seeks the Department's records of communications with particular State Attorneys General (and their staffs) regarding Title IV student loan program policies.

  Request

FOIA Request: Records Related to the U.S. Department of Education’s Communications with Outside Interest Groups Regarding Title IV Student Loan Program Policies

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueBorrower DefenseEducation Freedom
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-24-22
DateMay 20, 2022

Since January 20, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education has initiated unprecedented unilateral elimination of billions of dollars in student loan debt, is engaged in rulemaking likely to result in substantially more "forgiveness" of student loan debt, and is considering massive student loan forgiveness. Particular outside interest groups have lobbied the Department to initiate these radical changes and it appears that the Department is acting accordingly. In its FOIA request, DFI seeks records related to the communications of those outside interest groups to ED regarding ED's student loan program policies (particularly regarding wide-ranging forgiveness of student loan debt).

  Request

FOIA Request: Records Related to the U.S. Department of Education’s Communications with Legal Advocacy Groups and Associated Individuals Regarding Title IV Student Loan Program Litigation and Related Policies

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueBorrower DefenseEducation Freedom
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-23-22
DateMay 18, 2022

Since January 20, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education has engaged in the unprecedented unilateral elimination of billions of dollars in student loan debt and is engaged in rulemaking likely to result in even more substantial "forgiveness" of student loan debt. For several years, certain legal advocacy groups supporting these policy positions have engaged in aggressive lawsuits against the Department to achieve these ends. Since January 20, 2021, ED's litigation positions and policies often reflect the objectives of those legal advocacy groups. In its FOIA request, DFI seeks records related to the communications of those legal advocacy groups (and associated individuals) regarding ED's litigation positions and related policies.

  Request

FOIA Request: Records Regarding the Involvement of the Network for Public Education Action in ED’s Charter School Program Proposed Rulemaking

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueCharter School ProgramEducation Freedom
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-22-22
DateMay 13, 2022

On March 14, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education published a notice of proposed changes to the Charter School Program that would diminish the independent role and innovative success of charter schools (which have been enormously beneficial to lower-income and minority students) and is counter to Congress's unambiguous statutory intent. In response to a reporter's recent inquiry regarding ED's proposal, ED's spokesperson referred the reporter to the "Network for Public Education Action" ("NPE") (a staunchly anti-charter school advocacy group) and its executive director for further comment on ED's proposed rulemaking. In its FOIA request, DFI seeks records regarding the involvement of NPE and its personnel in ED's Charter School Program proposed rulemaking.

  Request

FOIA Request: Congressional Communications Related to Student Loan Debt Enforcement Policies

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueBorrower DefenseEducation Freedom
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-21-22
DateMay 13, 2022

Since January 20, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education has engaged in the unprecedented unilateral elimination of billions of dollars in student loan debt and is engaged in rulemaking likely to result in even more substantial "forgiveness" of student loan debt. Several members of Congress and congressional staff members have called for the elimination of up to $50,000 in student loan debt per student and have urged the Department to move quickly in discharging massive amounts of student loan debt. In its FOIA request, DFI seeks records related to those congressional communications related to ED's emerging student loan debt policies.

  Request

FOIA Request: Records Related to the U.S. Department of Education’s Communications with Harvard’s Project on Predatory Student Lending

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueBorrower DefensePolitical Appointees
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-20-22
DateMay 12, 2022

Since January 20, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education has unilaterally initiated sweeping changes to its student loan debt policies, already discharging billions of dollars in student loan debt, forgoing its obligation to collect student loan debt, and planning unprecedented "forgiveness" of potentially hundreds of billions of dollars in student loan debt. Harvard Law School's "Project on Predatory Student Lending" ("PPSL"), whose founder and director is now Deputy General Counsel at the Department, has repeatedly pursued litigation against the Department to bring about many of the policies the Department is now pursuing. In its FOIA request, DFI seeks records of the Department's interactions with PPSL related to the Department's radical new student loan debt policies.

  Request

FOIA Request: Records Related to Deputy General Counsel Toby Merrill’s Ethics Pledge, Ethics Pledge Waivers, and Conflict of Interest Communications

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueBorrower DefensePolitical Appointees
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-19-22
DateMay 11, 2022

Since January 20, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education has unilaterally initiated massive changes to its student loan debt policies, discharging the debts of millions of students and is on the brink of implementing federal rules to erase billions of dollars in additional student loan debt (even as it discontinues its own debt collection efforts). In July 2021, ED hired (as Deputy General Counsel) Toby Merrill, who previously founded and directed Harvard Law School's "Project on Predatory Student Lending" ("PPSL"), which has been a direct litigant against the Department in critical student loan debt lawsuits for several years. ED's litigation positions are now largely tracking PPSL's positions. Under ED's ethics requirements, Merrill (and other political appointees) must divulge conflicts of interest and engage in ethics pledges to not participate in matters in which a former employer either was a party or represented a party in pending matters. In its FOIA request, DFI seeks records of Merrill's ethics pledge, any pledge waivers issued by the Department, and other related conflict of interest communications.

  Request   Records

FOIA Request: Records Related to “Governing for Impact” Communications with the U.S. Department of Education

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueDiversity, Equity, and InclusionEducation Freedom
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-18-22
DateMay 4, 2022

Since January 20, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education has implemented radical shifts in a wide array of policies, including student loan debt cancellation, repealing Title IX due process protections for survivors and the accused, redefining gender, collecting sexual identity information from young students, permitting biological males to compete against girls and women in competitive scholastic athletics, undermining the Charter School Program, altering the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to further dismiss student loan debt, and initiating an "Agency Equity Plan" to re-order the award of grants and other federal aid based on racial, sexual, and other demographic criteria. These policies appear to have been directly advocated to ED by the Soros-backed "Governing for Impact," ("GFI") a progressive regulatory policy organization with direct access to multiple federal agencies and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (the President's central authority for the review and approval of proposed federal regulations). In its FOIA request, DFI seeks records revealing communications between GFI and ED policy makers and related documents.

  Request

FOIA Request: Records Related to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Equity Action Plan

AgencyDepartment of Labor
IssueDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-17-22
DateMay 3, 2022

On April 14, 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor announced its "Equity Action Plan," which requires "equity" to be a critical factor throughout important DOL policy decisions, including the federal-state Unemployment Insurance program and disbursement of grants based on adherence to DOL's equity agenda. The Equity Plan explicitly "centers" racial and other highly personal demographic data in its policy decisions, in apparent violation of Title VI's prohibition of discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs receiving federal financial assistance. In its FOIA request, DFI seeks records related to the Equity Plan, including information upon which DOL relied in finding "equity gaps" in the UI system, its 2021 "inventory" of equity-oriented data collected by agencies, its finding that the current UI system is discriminatory, and its "Equity Data Partnerships" with five States.

  Request

FOIA Request: Records Related to the U.S. Department of Education’s 2022 Agency Equity Plan related to Executive Order 13985

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-16-22
DateApr 28, 2022

On April 14, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education announced its "2022 Agency Equity Plan," which would insert "equity" as a critical factor throughout ED's policy decisions, including grants to States and local education agencies. It creates an "Equity in Education Dashboard" with a "single source of truth" provision for the public and ED officials to find equity data. It asserts a mandate to "meet students' holistic needs, ranging from their academic growth to their social and emotional development, and their mental health." It requires the collection of highly personal data regarding sexual identity, among other identifiers, and may include policies that are violative of Title VI's prohibition of discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in educational programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance. In its FOIA request, DFI seeks records related to the Equity Plan, including the stakeholders from whom ED has sought guidance in its "listening sessions" and "Equity Round Table Discussions."

  Request

FOIA Request: Records Regarding Collaboration with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueBorrower DefenseEducation Freedom
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-15-22
DateApr 21, 2022

Federal Student Aid officials at ED have recently announced significant changes in student loan debt collection enforcement policies, including loan forgiveness, moratoria on federal student loan repayment obligations, and collaboration with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and other regulators regarding student loan servicers and debt collectors. ED's new policies appear to share its primary enforcement obligations with other agencies, despite the requirements of the Higher Education Act (as amended) and ED's own regulations. ED's collaboration also appears to contradict its February 2020 Memorandum of Understanding between ED and CFPB, delineating the proper roles of ED and CFPB. DFI thus seeks records related to ED's announced collaboration with the CFPB since January 20, 2021.

  Request

Comment on Rule: Proposed Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criteria – Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Charter Schools Program (CSP), U.S. Department of Education

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueCharter School Program
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-14-22
DateApr 18, 2022

The Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies (DFI) is challenging the Biden Administration’s proposed changes to the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Charter School Program (CSP) grant competition.  In an official comment, DFI makes clear that the new rules represent gross overreach by the Federal government and would chill or possibly halt charter school expansion.

  Comment on Rule

FOIA Request: Records of Teachers’ Union(s) Communications on Charter Schools Program Proposed Rulemaking

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueCharter School ProgramEducation FreedomTeacher Unions
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-14-22
DateApr 18, 2022

ED officials have proposed significant changes to ED’s Charter Schools Program policies. The public has an interest in knowing which outside interest groups may be affecting ED’s CSP rulemaking and policy agenda, particularly regarding ED’s anticipated rulemaking concerning the CSP, announced on March 14, 2022 (Agency/Docket Number: ED-2022-OESE-0006). DFI is particularly concerned that the proposed CSP rulemaking will remove educational opportunities for racial minorities and other socioeconomically disadvantaged students. DFI thus seeks records and information related to ED’s Charter Schools Program proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and grant selection criteria and related policies since January 20, 2021.

  Request

FOIA Request: Records of Higher Education Interest Group Communications on Title IX

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueTitle IX
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-13-22
DateMar 29, 2022

The Biden Administration has announced its intention to make major changes to the U.S. Department of Education’s “2020 Rule,” which strengthened Title IX’s due process and privacy rights of students and faculty in campus sexual assault matters. The Department’s Office for Civil Rights has announced its intention to substantially revise the 2020 Rule’s protections and has issued a Notice of Interpretation expanding its enforcement of Title IX to include “discrimination based on gender identity.” These proposed changes follow known public advocacy of major changes to the 2020 Rule by outside groups with interests in the Department’s college and university Title IX policies. DFI’s FOIA request is for records of communications from and with those interest groups which have advocated significant changes to the 2020 Rule now being made by the Department.

  Request

FOIA Request: Records of K-12 Interest Group Communications on Title IX

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueTitle IX
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-12-22
DateMar 29, 2022

The Biden Administration has announced its intention to make major changes to the U.S. Department of Education’s “2020 Rule,” which strengthened Title IX’s due process and privacy rights of students and faculty in campus sexual assault matters. The Department’s Office for Civil Rights has announced its intention to substantially revise the 2020 Rule’s protections and has issued a Notice of Interpretation expanding its enforcement of Title IX to include “discrimination based on gender identity.” These proposed changes follow known public advocacy of major changes to the 2020 Rule by outside groups with interests in the Department’s K-12 Title IX policies. DFI’s FOIA request is for records of communications from and with those interest groups which have advocated significant changes to the 2020 Rule now being made by the Department.

  Request   Response

FOIA Request: Records Related to Equity Assistance Centers

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueDiversity, Equity, and InclusionEducation Freedom
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-10-22
DateMar 28, 2022

The U.S. Department of Education provides grants to applicants to “render technical assistance” to local school boards and other responsible government entities in public school desegregation efforts. Administered by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), the Department changed the name of its “Desegregation Assistance Centers” to “Equity Assistance Centers” and has since awarded millions of dollars in grants to entities focused on “sex desegregation” and other forms of “equity-based” social agendas, including instruction on systemic racism and thwarting parental rights. DFI’s FOIA request is for Departmental records related to grant awards and cooperative agreements with its Equity Assistance Center grant applicants and award recipients.

  Request   Response

FOIA Request: OESE Records Related to Equity Assistance Centers

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueDiversity, Equity, and InclusionEducation Freedom
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-9-22
DateMar 28, 2022

The U.S. Department of Education provides grants to applicants to “render technical assistance” to local school boards and other responsible government entities in public school desegregation efforts. Administered by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), the Department changed the name of its “Desegregation Assistance Centers” to “Equity Assistance Centers” and has since awarded millions of dollars in grants to entities focused on “sex desegregation” and other forms of “equity-based” social agendas, including instruction on systemic racism and thwarting parental rights. DFI’s FOIA request is for OESE records related to grant awards and cooperative agreements with its Equity Assistance Center grant applicants and award recipients.

  Request   Response

FOIA Request: Records of Teachers’ Union(s) Communications on Title IX

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueTeacher UnionsTitle IX
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-11-22
DateMar 28, 2022

The Biden Administration has announced its intention to make major changes to the U.S. Department of Education’s “2020 Rule,” which strengthened Title IX’s due process and privacy rights of students and faculty in campus sexual assault matters. The Department’s Office for Civil Rights has announced its intention to substantially revise the 2020 Rule’s protections and has issued a Notice of Interpretation expanding its enforcement of Title IX to include “discrimination based on gender identity.” These proposed changes follow known public advocacy of major changes to the 2020 Rule by teachers’ unions and affiliated outside interest groups. DFI’s FOIA request is for records of communications from and with those unions and interest groups which have advocated significant changes to the 2020 Rule now being made by the Department.

  Request

FOIA Request: Congressional Communications related to Title IX Policies and Enforcement

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueTitle IX
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-8-22
DateMar 17, 2022

The Biden Administration has announced its intention to make major changes to the U.S. Department of Education’s “2020 Rule,” which strengthened Title IX’s due process and privacy rights of students and faculty in campus sexual assault matters. The Department’s Office for Civil Rights has announced its intention to substantially revise the 2020 Rule’s protections and has issued a Notice of Interpretation expanding its enforcement of Title IX to include “discrimination based on gender identity.” These proposed changes follow known public advocacy of major changes to the 2020 Rule by particular members of Congress. DFI’s FOIA request is for records of communications from and with members of Congress and congressional staff who have advocated significant changes to the 2020 Rule now being made by the Department.

  Request   Response

FOIA Request: Records Related to Title IX Enforcement

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueTitle IX
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-7-22
DateMar 14, 2022

The Biden Administration has announced its intention to make major changes to the U.S. Department of Education’s “2020 Rule,” which strengthened Title IX’s due process and privacy rights of students and faculty in campus sexual assault matters. The Department’s Office for Civil Rights has announced its intention to substantially revise the 2020 Rule’s protections and has issued a Notice of Interpretation expanding its enforcement of Title IX to include “discrimination based on gender identity.” These proposed changes follow intense lobbying of the Department by outside interest groups. DFI’s FOIA request is for records of communications from and with the outside interest groups who have advocated significant changes to the 2020 Rule now being made by the Department.

  Request   Response

FOIA Request: Records Related to Ending DOJ’s China Initiative

AgencyDepartment of Justice
IssueCenter for Diplomacy and Global EngagementChina Initiative
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-6-22
DateFeb 25, 2022

Despite China’s ongoing efforts to attack and undermine the national security interests of the U.S. and its allies, the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division announced on February 23, 2022, that DOJ was ending its “China Initiative,” established to counter Chinese national security threats to the U.S. Major American universities, including the University of Pennsylvania (where the Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement was established in 2017), have been recipients of billions of dollars in value of foreign gifts and contracts. Through DOJ’s China Initiative, criminal investigations were conducted at major American universities, revealing extensive vulnerabilities of critical U.S. research and development materials (often developed at major American universities). Several prominent outside interest groups have lobbied extensively on behalf of university and college foreign source gifts and contracts, seeking to eliminate the China Initiative and other federal investigative efforts regarding China’s efforts to access critical American technologies at American universities. DFI’s FOIA request (to multiple DOJ entities) is for records of communications from and with outside interest groups who may have driven the Department’s policy changes.

  Request

FOIA Request: Records Related to Borrower Defense to Repayment Policies

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueBorrower Defense
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-5-22
DateFeb 18, 2022

Since January 20, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education has used its Borrower Defense (BD) regulations to forgive approximately $2 billion in student loans and has discharged hundreds of millions of dollars in other student loan debt. The Department has repeatedly announced moratoriums in its student loan collection responsibilities. DFI’s FOIA request is for records of communications from and with outside interest groups and political advocates who appear to have driven the Department’s policy changes.

  Request   Response

COMMENT: Comment on the U.S. Department of Education’s Proposed Mandatory Civil Rights Data Collection

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueDiversity, Equity, and InclusionTitle IX
TrackingED-2021-SCC-0158
DateFeb 11, 2022

On December 11, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published a notice of its intent to revise its "Civil Rights Data Collection" (CRDC). Under the proposed revisions, OCR would begin asking young students if they identified as male, female, or "nonbinary," and would discontinue collecting information indicating if high schools provide competitive athletic sports opportunities involving male and female only competitive athletic opportunities to students (collection of this data has historically been a key component of ensuring the Title IX rights of girls and women to compete against other girls and women). DFI strongly opposed ED's proposed revisions to the CRDC and provided its official Comment on the proposed revisions on February 11, 2022.

  Comment on Rule

FOIA Request: Records Related to Section 117 Enforcement and the University of Pennsylvania’s Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement

AgencyOffice of Management and Budget
IssueCenter for Diplomacy and Global EngagementForeign Gifts
TrackingDFI No. 100-4-22
DateFeb 7, 2022

The U.S. Department of Education has made significant changes to its enforcement of Section 117 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. § 1011f). Section 117 requires colleges and universities to report foreign source gifts and contracts with an annual value of $250,000 or more. The University of Pennsylvania received vast amounts of foreign source gifts and contracts following its establishment of the Biden Center in 2017. Various higher education interest groups which oppose stringent Section 117 reporting requirements have advocated for less enforcement by the Department. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) oversees implementation of Biden Administration policies, including Section 117 policies at the Department of Education. Since January 20, 2021, the Department of Education has lessened its enforcement efforts. DFI’s FOIA request is for records of communications from and with those interest groups to OMB officials.

  Request

FOIA Request: Records Related to Section 117 Enforcement and the University of Pennsylvania’s Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssueCenter for Diplomacy and Global EngagementForeign Gifts
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-3-22
DateFeb 7, 2022

The U.S. Department of Education has made significant changes to its enforcement of Section 117 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. § 1011f). Section 117 requires colleges and universities to report foreign source gifts and contracts with an annual value of $250,000 or more. The University of Pennsylvania received vast amounts of foreign source gifts and contracts following its establishment of the Biden Center in 2017. Various higher education interest groups which oppose stringent Section 117 reporting requirements have advocated for less enforcement by the Department. Since January 20, 2021, the Department has lessened its enforcement efforts. DFI’s FOIA request is for records of communications from and with those interest groups to senior Department officials.

  Request   Response

FOIA Request: Calendars, Virtual Meetings, and Visitor Logs

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssuePersonnelPolitical Appointees
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-2-22
DateFeb 4, 2022

Secretary Cardona and other senior officials at the U.S. Department of Education have initiated significant policy changes which impact the rights of girls and women to compete against other girls and women in competitive athletics (Title IX), repayment of student loans (Title IV), support for charter school programs, the prohibition of race-based discrimination in college admission policies (Title VI), and the due process rights of accused students, teachers, faculty, and victims. DFI’s FOIA request is for records indicating the interactions of senior Departmental officials with the advocacy groups and political activities supporting ED’s significant policy changes.

  Request   Response   Records

FOIA Request: Records Relating to Identities, Qualifications, and Impartiality of Political Appointees

AgencyDepartment of Education
IssuePersonnelPolitical Appointees
TrackingDFI FOIA No. 100-1-22
DateFeb 2, 2022

The Biden Administration has proposed extensive changes to existing federal education programs. DFI’s FOIA request is for records indicating the professional identities and qualifications of the Departmental officials appointed by the President to determine and implement the Department’s policies, which directly impact millions of students, families, workers, and taxpayers.

  Request   Response   Records   Records