The education secretary, Betsy DeVos, who made a career of promoting local control of education, is taking a tough line on enforcing new federal standards.
The department will not consider civil rights investigations mandatory, loosening rules that spurred broad looks at issues from sexual assault to disciplinary actions.
The education secretary attended private Christian schools, sent her children to private Christian schools and has been the benefactor of a private Christian school.
The education secretary, often criticized as an out-of-touch billionaire, has staffed her administration with a diverse set of subordinates, some from unlikely sources.
The education secretary defended plans to divert money to a school choice agenda, including funds for vouchers to private school, which she said states should regulate.
The education secretary gave her first commencement address at a historically black university amid some jeers and turned faces.
An Education Department study found that students who switched to private schools under the system had lower results than their peers, but found their new schools safer by a large margin.
The review aims to ensure local leaders will have final say “about what happens in the classroom,” said Rob Goad, a senior Education Department official.
The town of Van Wert, Ohio, became a crossroads of federal policy with a visit by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Randi Weingarten, a teachers’ union leader.
The two selections for high-profile posts, both lawyers, have legal records on sexual assault that have alarmed some advocates.