(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, released the following statement on the Republican proposal to condition K-12 funds by requiring schools to operate in-person, and directing federal funding to unaccountable private schools:
“Democrats want schools to re-open for in-person learning if it can be done safely—but the partisan Republican proposal would put students, educators, and communities at risk by taking a one-size fits all approach and pushing school districts to ignore local public health officials. This is not a plan to help schools reopen safely; it is a recipe for more chaos and illness. Instead of bullying schools into physically reopening and putting the safety of students, families, educators and staff at risk, we need to provide schools with the resources they need to ensure students’ education continues, whether they operate in-person, remotely, or a hybrid of both. We will continue to push for the $175 billion that is needed to help our K-12 schools to implement public health protocols, address learning loss, and provide high-quality distance learning—in addition to the $30 billion in our bill to help communities disproportionately impacted by this crisis, students with disabilities, and students struggling without access to internet and technology,” said the members.
“It is also shameful Senate Republicans are using this pandemic as an excuse to advance Secretary DeVos’ ideological school privatization agenda by taking critical funding from public schools. Not only does this proposal send money directly to private schools, but this ‘freedom scholarship’ is just a re-packaged version of same unacceptable voucher program that Congress has repeatedly rejected.”
On June 30, Senator Murray introduced the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA), a $430 billion dollar bill to address the national child care and education crises and provide relief to students, families, schools, and educators across the country during this pandemic. In addition to supporting child care and higher education, the bill would provide over $175 billion to help ensure K-12 schools can implement public health measures, address learning loss among students, and provide high-quality remote learning.
On May 15, the House passed the Heroes Act, which directs more than $58 billion in emergency education funding for K-12 schools. It also provides nearly a $1 trillion in state and local funding to fill unprecedented budget shortfalls that will lead to devastating cuts to public education without federal relief. On July 1, the House passed the Moving Forward Act which invests $130 billion toward repairing and modernizing school facilities that endanger the health and safety of students and school staff.