DeVos’ Attempt to Redirect Pandemic Relief Funds Away from Public Schools Has Been Ruled Illegal

September 11, 2020 | National

Last month, the Department of Education under the leadership of Secretary DeVos issued a rule that would redirect pandemic relief funding from public schools to private schools. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, public schools were among the most inequitably funded in the industrialized world; and the COVID-19 pandemic and recession has disproportionately harmed communities of color and low-income communities. This means the rule would have taken funding from students who needed it the most before and during the crisis. We joined 53 other civil rights organizations to call for the Department of Education to withdraw this rule taking funding from lower-income communities to subsidize wealthier communities.

This week, we get to celebrate a small win: a federal judge has ruled this effort illegal and has struck down the policy. In her decision – which is final and applies nationwide – the judge wrote, “Congress expressed a clear and unambiguous preference for apportioning funding to private schools based on the number of children from low-income families.”

Read more about the Department of Education’s rule as well as other ongoing attempts to subsidize private schools over public education here.