ICYMI: Betsy DeVos and Frank Edelblut Use COVID-19 Crisis To Push Anti-Public School Agenda
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Betsy DeVos is using the COVID-19 crisis to push Trump’s disastrous education agenda and get states like New Hampshire to give aid meant for disadvantaged students to wealthy private schools. Like DeVos, New Hampshire Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut has been using the COVID-19 pandemic to push his anti-public school agenda and refuses to definitively say whether New Hampshire will follow DeVos’ directive to allocate public funds to private schools. Maine has already refused to follow DeVos’ scheme to undermine public schools in the middle of a pandemic.
“Frank Edelblut is doing the bidding of Betsy DeVos and looking the other way as she tries to funnel emergency education funding from public schools to private companies. Our students and public schools desperately need this funding, but Edelblut - who is Sununu’s hand-picked, anti-public school mouthpiece - is using the global pandemic to push his out-of-touch political agenda,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley. “We need leaders who will fight for New Hampshire students, not corporate profits or a political agenda, and we need Sununu to be completely transparent with taxpayers about where their money is going. So far, he hasn't been at all.”
New York Times: DeVos Demands Public Schools Share Pandemic Aid With Private Institutions
By Erica L. Green
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, defiant amid criticism that she is using the coronavirus to pursue a long-sought agenda, said she would force public school districts to spend a large portion of federal rescue funding on private school students, regardless of income.
A range of education officials say Ms. DeVos’s guidance would divert millions of dollars from disadvantaged students and force districts starved of tax revenues during an economic crisis to support even the wealthiest private schools. The association representing the nation’s schools superintendents told districts to ignore the guidance, and at least two states — Indiana and Maine — said they would.
Under federal education law, school districts are required to use funding intended for their poorest students to provide “equitable services,” such as tutoring and transportation, for low-income students attending private schools in their districts. But Ms. DeVos maintains the coronavirus rescue law does not limit funding to only poor students, and her guidance would award private schools more services than the law would normally require.
Last week, leaders from education committees in the House and Senate, including Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, said Ms. DeVos’s interpretation was flawed.
Democratic leaders called on Ms. DeVos to revise her guidance, which they said would “repurpose hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars intended for public school students to provide services for private school students, in contravention of both the plain reading of the statute and the intent of Congress.”
Carissa Moffat Miller, the executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, said the organization believed the secretary’s guidance “could significantly harm the vulnerable students who were intended to benefit the most from the critical federal Covid-19 education relief funds Congress has provided.”
Ms. DeVos has been unabashed in her use of coronavirus funding to further her decades-long effort to divert public dollars to private and parochial schools. In a radio interview last week, first reported by Chalkbeat, the Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, asked Ms. DeVos if she was using “this particular crisis to ensure that justice is finally done to our kids and the parents who choose to send them to faith-based schools.” She responded “Absolutely.”