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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 thatafter 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.

Stay tuned.

Spoiler: they all want to privatize public education in Montana.

What is "school choice"? Don't be fooled. “School choice” is a catch-all phrase that covers a variety of efforts to privatize public education. The "school choice" movement has been around for decades, trying to expand its reach school district state by state.[1]

School Choice = School Privatization

Using public funds to support for-profit private schools undermines the public school system, which educates the majority of Montana's children, and that it's ultimately aimed at privatizing the most important civic institution in the country.[2]

Betsy DeVos is a huge advocate of school privatization.[3] But did you know Superintendent of Public Education Elsie Arntzen also supports school privatization?[4] So does U.S. Representative Greg Gianforte.[5]

So, what can we do to support and protect Montana's public schools?

  1. Call Elsie Artntzen and tell her to end her support of school privatization: 406-444-5643

  2. Call Greg Gianforte: 202-225-3211

  3. Sign our petition

  4. Donate to Montanans Organized for Education and help us hold school privatization advocates accountable

Last week Secretary Betsy DeVos appeared before the U.S. House of Representatives. It did not go well. Watch the video below. You won't be disappointed, but you might be horrified by DeVos' defense of fraud, waste, and the abuse of taxpayer dollars.

We must stop DeVos' proposal to use nearly a half billion dollars to start up new for-profit charter schools. $1,000,000,000 spent on fraudulent and failing charters that never open, or open and close, is already too much.

Please take a moment to call the following Senators and tell them to support public education, not private for-profit charter schools.

Thank you, Rep. Moffie Funk Executive Director, Montanans Organized for Education

Sen. Durbin 202-224-2152

Sen. Reed 202-224-4642

Sen. Shaheen 202-224-2841

Sen. Merkley 202-224-3753

Sen. Schatz 202-224-3934

Sen. Baldwin 202-224-5653

Sen. Murphy 202-224-4041

Sen. Manchin 202-224-3954

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