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Betsy DeVos Limited How Schools Can Spend COVID-19 Relief. Now, Stakeholders Are Suing.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is overseeing the distribution of nearly $13 billion in coronavirus relief to schools around the country via the CARES act. But there’s a catch.

DeVos has issued a rule that states must distribute an equal amount of the money to both public and private schools. The NAACP and public school systems have been quick to respond, first with criticism, then with a massive lawsuit.

Public schools are more likely to be attended by students of color and tend to have fewer resources than their private counterparts.

From the lawsuit:

The Rule is as immoral as it is illegal. In a moment of crisis—when public school districts are called upon to educate their students in unprecedented circumstances, to protect their students and staff from disease, and to feed families who have been plunged into poverty, all with decimated state and local revenues—it is unconscionable for Defendants to siphon away the

CARES Act’s desperately needed funds for the benefit of more affluent private-school students.

Why did DeVos issue this rule? Who has the power to enforce this decision on a local level? And does any variety of American school really have the resources to get through the pandemic?

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