Home News She Left the Education Dept. for Groups It Curbed. Now She’s Back, With Plans. – The New York Times

She Left the Education Dept. for Groups It Curbed. Now She’s Back, With Plans. – The New York Times

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WASHINGTON — Depending on whom you ask, Diane Auer Jones has returned to the Education Department with either a mission or a vengeance.

A little more than a decade ago she resigned as an assistant secretary for postsecondary education in the George W. Bush administration, after protesting the department’s treatment of an accreditor that oversaw religiously affiliated, liberal-arts colleges. Department officials saw accountability in their crackdown; Ms. Jones saw bias against a gatekeeper for nontraditional college degrees.

“Favored accreditors are treated differently than unfavored accreditors,” she said in an interview. “That was my awakening to how the current system could be manipulated to pick winners and losers.”

Now, as the chief architect of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s higher education agenda, Ms. Jones is leading the charge to overhaul the accreditation system, and, to critics, revive the fortunes of for-profit organizations that operate low-quality education programs that have a track record of shortchanging students and taxpayers.

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