Fair Practices in Education for Service Members and Veterans

The official title of the memorandum issued November 11, 2016 is “Presidential Memorandum: Advancing Fair Practices by Education and Training Institutions Serving Service Members, Veterans, Eligible Spouses, and Other Family Members”. (I suspect the date chosen for this memorandum was not just coincidence.)

This is a lengthy memorandum addressed to the heads of executive departments and agencies. The gist of it is to establish a working group to improve implementation of Executive Order 13607 (Establishing Principles of Excellence for Educational Institutions Serving Service Members, Veterans, Spouses, and Other Family Members), signed on April 27, 2012.

Here is part of the justification for this action:

“Although thousands of institutions have committed to the Principles of Excellence, more work remains to strengthen oversight, enforcement, and accountability within these benefits programs so that these critical investments are protected and can continue to serve our service members, veterans, their eligible spouses, and other family members. To accomplish these goals, we must continue to improve the coordination of Federal tools and resources, provide new mechanisms to increase collaboration across Federal agencies, identify best practices that can support and inform initiatives to enhance educational and career readiness and success, implement better data-sharing strategies, and develop more streamlined protocols to improve enforcement and information sharing. ”

I endorse this effort whole-heartedly. What I find alarming is the need for the original executive order. Having devoted a significant portion of my professional career to service in higher education, I would have hoped for better, but apparently there were enough institutions failing to provide good services and accurate information – some even to the point of fraud – that this kind of executive action was necessary.

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