Chairman Scott Demands Education Department Abandon Plan to Use COVID-19 Relief Money to Fund Private School Voucher Scheme
WASHINGTON, DC – In a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) called on the Education Department to abandon its plan to divert emergency education funding, which was intended to provide COVID-19 relief for public schools, toward private school vouchers.
The letter comes after the Department announced its intention to use a vast majority of the $300 million it received for discretionary grants under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to create a program that mirrors the Department’s longstanding, widely rejected proposal to create a federal school voucher program.
In the letter, Chairman Scott notes that the Department’s use of these funds for private school vouchers scheme fails to adhere to Congress’ intent to aid states with the highest burden amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Scott also points out that the Department’s methodology to determine the highest burden does not accurately determine which states are most impacted by the pandemic.
“Congressional intent was to direct additional federal funding to states with the highest coronavirus burden to ensure their schools received the support and services necessary to address the needs of the students most disadvantaged during this pandemic,” Chairman Scott wrote. “By directing states to allow these funds to be diverted to private fee-for-service educational providers, the Department has not faithfully adhered to Congressional intent to support the public school system that still educates the overwhelming majority of American students.”
In the letter, Chairman Scott urges the Department to rescind the proposal and to develop new metrics for grant programs that adhere to the intent of Congress and strengthen support for public education in the states most severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read the full letter to Secretary DeVos here.