Help Stop DeVos Plan to Shift Public Money to Private School Students

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is playing hardball in her scheme to take millions of dollars away from our neediest public school children and give them to our state’s wealthiest private school students. 

These are federal CARES Act funds that were sent to public schools according to the Title I formula, meaning public school districts got funding based on enrollment in ONLY their schools with high concentrations of low-income students. Federal law requires public schools to use a portion of Title I funding to provide equitable services to low-income students in their districts who attend private schools.

But Secretary DeVos, who has long pushed a privatization agenda, is insisting that school districts use their CARES Act funds to support ALL private school students in their districts, regardless of income.

When the Mississippi Department of Education and other states’ education officials refused to go along with DeVos’s guidance on this issue, she turned her “guidance” into a new federal rule – one that conflicts with what Congress intended when they appropriated the funds. Read DeVos’s position and justification.

We have an opportunity to stop DeVos. Any time a new government rule is proposed, officials must consider public comments prior to a final ruling. We have until July 31 to voice our concerns.

 Please tell Sec. DeVos that you oppose her interim final rule regarding CARES Act funds. Public schools should provide equitable services for only low-income private school students.

Include this federal docket ID number at the top of your comments: ED-2020-OESE-0091.

Click to submit comments via the Federal Rulemaking Portal.

Or mail comments to:

Ms. Amy Huber
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 3W219
Washington, DC 20202

Please also send a copy of your comments to Mississippi’s Congressional Delegation (click on links to email them).

Senator Roger Wicker

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith

Congressman Trent Kelly

Congressman Bennie Thompson

Congressman Michael Guest

Congressman Steven Palazzo

Mississippi private schools received millions of dollars in federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) dollars for which public schools did not qualify. See PPP recipients. Additionally, the Mississippi Legislature appropriated $10-million to private schools for the purchase of protective equipment and supplies. Now DeVos wants to divert funding intended for public schools to serve students in private schools.

During this pandemic, public schools have moved heaven and earth to mitigate the harm wrought by COVID-19 on our state’s most vulnerable children, and they have incurred costs that private schools have not: creating innovative feeding programs for students, outfitting school buses with wifi to serve as neighborhood hot spots, and providing supports that benefit all families in their communities. It is particularly offensive that Secretary DeVos would attempt to take funding Congress intended to help shoulder those responsibilities and use it to benefit the most privileged among us.  

Thank you for always standing in the gap for our children – particularly our most vulnerable children. The deadline to submit comments is July 31, so let’s get started today. Together, we’ve got this!