Senator Murray: “This rule is yet another example of Secretary DeVos keeping relief from those who need it most in order to serve her partisan privatization agenda.”
(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement in response to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ newly issued “equitable services” rule, which will redirect COVID-19 relief funding away from students in public schools to serve students in private schools, regardless of their families’ wealth or where they live. In May, Senator Murray urged Secretary DeVos to rescind this unauthorized guidance which is in direct contradiction with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“This rule is yet another example of Secretary DeVos keeping relief from those who need it most in order to serve her partisan privatization agenda. Right now, public schools across the country face unprecedented budget shortfalls while working to provide quality education to students during this crisis. But instead of doing her job, Secretary DeVos is diverting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars meant for public schools to provide services for private school students, regardless of their families’ wealth. This is unacceptable and I urge Secretary DeVos to reverse course and implement the law as Congress intended.”
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) requires local educational agencies (LEA) to use funding to provide “equitable services” to students attending private schools in the same way that school districts provide such services under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Breaking with the clear requirement of the CARES Act, and longstanding “equitable services” provision of Title I of the ESEA, the Department’s new policy will direct districts to allocate additional resources and services based on the number of all private school students in a district, rather than just low-income private school students in a school district, leaving a smaller amount of funds available to serve public school students.