WASHINGTON (CN) – While robbing America’s second-largest teachers’ union of the case, a federal judge on Monday allegations made that the government has grossly mismanaged loan cancellation programs designed to encourage public service careers.
With some 1.5 million members, the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, had alleged that the Department of Education, under Secretary of State Betsy DeVos, had failed to minimize the risk of refusal. mistakenly applied for the Civil Service Loan Forgiveness Program and the Temporary Extended Public Service Loan. Forgiveness program.
Both were created in 2007 to attract recruits to relatively low-paying public service careers, such as teaching, nursing and firefighting. As of March 2019, however, the US government had only canceled 1% of eligible loans.
“ED broke congressional promise,” union said claims in the 111-page complaint she filed last year in Washington with its president Randi Weingarten and six individual plaintiffs.
U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich agreed on Monday to dismiss Weingarten and the union from the case, saying they had failed to establish standing.
“To meet the factual prejudice requirement of Article III, an organization” must allege more than frustration with its purpose, “” the Trump-appointed judge wrote.
Weingarten focused in a statement on the court’s refusal to dismiss two counts against DeVos.
“Instead of shirking her responsibilities, the secretary must now respond to the students she blamed and dismissed, while denying them the debt relief they are entitled to under the law,” the president said. union in a press release.
Selendy Gay’s attorney, Jessica Underwood, also expressed her gratitude for Friedrich for bringing forward his clients’ due process and administrative law requests.
“This move brings us one step closer to holding Secretary DeVos accountable for her failure to administer the civil service loan forgiveness program and get the relief civil servants deserve,” Underwood said in an email Monday after. -midday.
the complaint vs. DeVos notes that borrowers submitted 86,006 requests to the two loan cancellation programs, but only 864 requests were approved last year.
Accusing DeVos of failing to take into account the misconduct of the duty officers, the union argued that the secretary could act on her authority to write off the debt.
The Justice Department failed to convince Friedrich that the court could not provide a useful remedy, namely to order DeVos to reverse the decisions to waive the loan. “This argument is unnecessary,” Friedrich wrote.
The judge later pointed out that DeVos “did not refuse to use this authority” on the sole basis of the belief that [she] lack of competence.
“And the department has not ‘consciously and expressly adopted a general policy which is so extreme as to amount to an abdication of its statutory responsibilities”, continues the decision.
Representatives from the Departments of Justice and Education did not return requests for comment, nor did the National Student Legal Defense Network.
Arguing that DeVos and his department are keen to avoid the loan cancellation, Weingarten said the American Federation of Teachers plans to support its members as the case progresses.
“It’s not just technical errors – Judge Friedrich says Betsy DeVos must respond to AFT members’ allegations that she blatantly ignored the injuries and harm inflicted on millions of teachers , first responders and officials across the country, ”she said.