New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Raymond Buckley released the following statement on Betsy DeVos and Frank Edelblut’s attempts to push an extreme anti-public school agenda in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic: “Betsy DeVos and Frank Edelblut have a straightforward job: equipping schools with the resources they need to succeed. But instead of putting students first, they seem to have welcomed the coronavirus as a political ‘opportunity’ to undermine public schools and funnel emergency education funding to private companies. While DeVos has ordered states to divert COVID relief meant for public schools to private schools, Edelblut has refused to say whether the education relief will be diverted to private schools.” “Every day, New Hampshire’s public schools are navigating unprecedented challenges, and Granite Staters deserve better than political opportunists. Now more than ever, we need leaders who will fight for New Hampshire students, not leave them out to dry.” BACKGROUND ON GOP ATTACKS ON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Despite 85,000 American deaths and record unemployment, Betsy DeVos has described the coronavirus pandemic as an “opportunity” to promote her disastrous agenda.
After Congress passed emergency education funding to help public schools adjust to the pandemic, DeVos failed to quickly distribute the relief to schools that needed it. Instead, she withheld hundreds of millions of dollars from public school districts and funneled the relief to private companies.
The Washington Post: Betsy DeVos Finds New Pot Of Cash To Push Education Agenda: Federal COVID-19 Relief Money. “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has found a new pot of cash with which to pursue her school ‘choice’ agenda: money from the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package Congress passed to boost the economy as it deals with the pandemic.”
Chalkbeat: Guidance from DeVos means more coronavirus relief for private schools. “Private schools are set to receive more support than they expected from the federal coronavirus relief package, while high-poverty school districts are set to receive less, thanks to guidance put out by Betsy DeVos’s federal education department.”
Edelblut has been pushing an anti-public school agenda for years. In 2017, Chris Sununu and Edelblut pushed a scheme that would divert millions of dollars from New Hampshire public schools to unaccountable private and religious schools.
Now, Edelblut is attempting to use the coronavirus crisis to push his anti-public school agenda.
During COVID-19 pandemic Edelblut continues his push to divert education funding to private and charter schools. After listening to Edelblut talk about his vision for New Hampshire’s schools in the fall, NHPR education reporter Sarah Gibson said, “But, you know, Commissioner Edelblut has been pushing for pretty big changes to the public school system for a while. You know, he's pushed for charter school expansion...”
Edelblut has refused to say whether taxpayer-funded COVID-19 relief funds will be distributed only to public schools or would be diverted to private schools. During a New Hampshire Department of Education meeting, Edelblut told education leaders that “there was a little bit of a question that has come up around the funds.” He said that despite the CARES Act mandating the distribution of funds follow Title I guidelines - which prioritizes funding for schools based on the amount of low income students - he was told by DeVos that states could use Title II guidelines, which could mean low-income students could have to share the funding with wealthy students who attend private schools.