from Politico’s Tuesday October 30th MorningEducation

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told her staff in an email Monday that the Education Department is moving forward with “several proposals” to restructure the agency that don’t “require changes to existing laws.”

The plans, some details of which haven’t been previously reported, include elevating the Office of Non-Public Education to report directly to DeVos in the Office of the Secretary to help meet the agency’s goal of improving “parent choice,” according to documents obtained by POLITICO from the American Federation of Government Employees, which has clashed repeatedly with the Trump administration. Department spokeswoman Liz Hill confirmed the changes.

The Office of Non-Public Education, the agency’s liaison to the private school community, has in recent years been housed in the Office of Innovation and Improvement. We’ve previously reported that OII will be combined with the agency’s main K-12 office, the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Other changes that haven’t been reported include the creation of a new Student Privacy Policy Office, which would be housed under the department’s Office of Planning Evaluation and Policy Development. The new approach would essentially break up the current Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, which has been housed under the Office of Management. The Education Department’s former chief privacy officer, Kathleen Styles, was reassigned earlier this year.

The new Student Privacy Policy Office would be created by combining and moving two offices out of the Office of the Chief Privacy Officer — the Student Privacy Policy and Assistance Division and the Family Policy Compliance Division. A new rule-making effort would amend the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the federal law that protects the privacy of student education records, so the Family Policy Compliance Office can administer the law.

The Student Privacy Policy Office would be charged with providing student privacy assistance to states and school districts, in addition to investigating FERPA complaints. The position of chief privacy officer will move over to the Office of the Chief Information Officer, which has historically dealt with information technology issues. The chief privacy officer would have jurisdiction over issues related to the Privacy Act, which regulates federal record-keeping, and other privacy safeguards.

The reorganization would also move the Education Department’s budget office out of the Office of Planning Evaluation and Policy Development and into a new Office of Finance and Operations. The new Office of Finance and Operations would be created by consolidating the budget office, the Office of Management, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Risk Management Service.

The sweeping overhaul of the agency, which picked up steam this year, stems from an executive order issued by President Donald Trump in March 2017 that directed agencies to examine whether their organizational structures could be improved. The changes are expected to take effect by Jan. 6.