Stephen Dyer writes here about the curious fact that Trump and DeVos have failed to appoint any assistant secretaries in the Department of Education. His post includes a list of the agencies that are currently leaderless.

There is no Deputy Secretary, there is no Undersecretary. DeVos has assembled a few aides, but none that require Senate confirmation.

Dyer says this gives her a free hand to do whatever she wants. Of course, as Secretary, she would have the same free hand to do whatever she wants even if all the assistant secretaries were in place.

But there may be another reason to leave positions at ED empty:

For years now Republicans have made the Department of Education their favorite bureaucratic elimination target.

Even Rick Perry remembered he wanted to eliminate the Department during his infamous “Oops” moment during the 2012 debate season.

It appears that Trump has decided to let the Department wither on the vine, consolidate the power in the hand of a single person who is historically under qualified for the position and (like his comments on Obamacare this week), just let the Department die.

While I have certainly disagreed with federal interference in education policy over the years, I believe there is a role for the Department to play, especially when it comes to funding. Many areas of the country fund their education systems less effectively than others. The federal government can help equalize that difference to a great degree so that all Americans, regardless of where they live can achieve the American Dream.

After eight years of micromanagement by Arne Duncan (7 years) and John King (1 year), states will not miss the heavy hand of the feds.

DeVos’s slipshod review of state ESSA plans shows that she is not about to give up her desire to use the federal role to bully states and districts. But she is uniquely unqualified to tell any public school system what it should be doing. And the ESSA law says she should keep her hands off.

Before someone else points it out, I will note that the State Department is also running without leadership below the level of the Secretary Rex Tillerson. Perhaps Trump wants to eliminate the State Department too. Is Trump engaging in what Steve Bannon called “the deconstruction of the administrative state”?