President Trump Appoints Eight Members to NBES

December 15, 2020

After years of inaction, and one month before his term expires, Donald Trump appointed eight members to the National Board of Education Sciences. NBES provides guidance to the director of the Institute for Education Sciences (IES), the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education. The appointees appear to have no experience in education research.

NBES, a 15-member presidentially appointed board, has been without a quorum since the end of the Obama administration, and have consequently not met. Previously, NBES had typically met three times a year. The last record of a meeting was on November 8, 2016.

The eight newly appointed members –along with three named in November 2019—will allow the board to get back to work.

The new NBES members are part of a last minute flurry of presidential appointments (herehere, and here) announced earlier this month.

  • Dale Ahlquist, President and co-founder of the American Chesterton Society and Chesterton Academy in Minnesota
  • Michael Anton, a lecturer and research fellow focusing on political science at Hillsdale College, a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, and a former senior national security official in the Trump administration.
  • Lisa Cutone, Editorial Producer, CBS ‘This Morning’
  • Marina A. DeWit, Region 9 Advocate, Small Business Administration
  • Michael Faulkender, Assistant Secretary at the Treasury Department, on leave from Associate Dean of Masters Programs and Professor of Finance, University of Maryland
  • Professor Steve H. Hanke, Senior Fellow and Director, Cato Institute, and founder and co‐director of the Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise at Johns Hopkins University
  • Larry Schweikart, retired professor, University of Dayton
  • John Yoo, Emanuel Heller Professor of Law and director of the Korea Law Center, the California Constitution Center, and the Law School’s Program in Public Law and Policy.

Several have previously served in the Trump administration or were involved in the president’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns.

Two appointees — Michael Anton and Larry Schweikart — have  stridently defended Trump against what they see as existential threats to national security posed by liberal politicians. Anton spent a year at the National Security Council before becoming a regular presence on social media, and Schweikart, who retired in 2016 after 30 years as a history professor at the University of Dayton, is the author of “48 Liberal Lies about American History” and “A Patriot’s History of the United States.”

The paperwork for these eight appointment still needs to be completed and four seats remain to be filled. NBES members serve four-year terms.

“Trump’s 11th hour actions are yet another attempt to put research in the crosshair of partisan politics.  None of the eight appointees have expertise in education research or practice.  This flagrant act flies in the face of the bipartisan Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA), which clearly states that the Board should be comprised of individuals with expertise in education research and the needs of educators and education leaders,” says FABBS Board Member-elect Vivian Tseng.

The first cohort of Trump appointees to NBES, announced in November 2019, were Chester Finn, president emeritus of the Thomas Fordham Institute; David Francis, a statistics professor at the University of Houston; and Joe May, chancellor of the Dallas County Community College district. All of the initial appointees met the intent of ESRA. 

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