I am sure many of you saw the report in last week’s New York Times concerning the reprehensible plan by Betsy DeVos to funnel “coronavirus relief funds to favored private and religious schools.”
The very next day there were reports in the Montana media outlining how much of the desperately needed COVID-19 funds intended for Montana’s public schools and students might be diverted to private institutions: $1.3 million
Montana’s private schools were already getting funds under “equity” guidelines and our public school districts were giving money to private schools that had children in need. But these new rules by the federal Department of Education go far beyond this equity.
“Initially, the equitable services provision for private schools focused on the same low-income student group, but guidance from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos expanded that to include all private school enrollment — a disproportionately larger metric than the low-income measure for public schools.” - Helena Independent Record
But this greedy power grab by DeVos is getting strong pushback. Some State Superintendents of Public Schools have stood strong and are ignoring the “guidelines.”
"Indiana's Republican superintendent of public instruction, Jennifer McCormick, tweeted that, after consulting with her state's attorney general, she would ignore the guidance. "' will not play political agenda games with [COVID-19] relief funds,' she said.” - NPR
Montana’s current Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Artnzen must do the same, but hasn't.
We must be loud and uncompromising in making sure our voices are heard that public funds belong to public schools.