In an administration plagued with scandals in many different departments, why leave out Education?

The Attorney General of the State of New York testified before the House Education Committee today that the Department has basically looked the other way when it comes to the student loan industry.

Mr. Cuomo recounted instances of colleges receiving payments from lenders based on the amount students borrowed; of financial aid administrators receiving trips and other benefits from lenders; and of loan companies operating call centers on their behalf. Such relationships are not disclosed to students, said Mr. Cuomo, whose inquiry began in January.

In response to questions, he said that some of his findings could result in criminal charges.

He said there was “significant evidence” of abuse in the federal loan program. He said that a Columbia University financial aid officer now on leave had obtained stock in a federally subsidized lender which was placed on the list of loan companies recommended to students.

The Committee wants to hear from Margaret Spellings on the matter early in May.

Maybe while she’s there the committee can ask her about the “allegations of financial conflicts of interest and cronyism” with Reading First.

Also, it would be nice if someone inquired into why she seems to ignore her own department’s studies showing that many of their policies (like pushing the privatization of the public education system) are not effective, despite their stated requirements for “research based” educational programs.

I mean, how are we going to learn anything unless we ask questions?