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devosJudge strikes down DeVos plan to boost pandemic relief for private schools

A federal judge on Friday ruled that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ effort to boost the amount of emergency pandemic relief that flows to private school students is illegal and struck down the policy.

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich, an appointee of President Donald Trump, ruled that DeVos ran afoul of the CARES Act when she required public schools to send a greater share of pandemic assistance to private school students than is typically required under federal law.

The judge sided with the NAACP, which had brought the legal challenge against DeVos’ policy, criticizing it as a ploy to divert emergency aid away from needy public schools toward more affluent private-school students.

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Private and Charter Schools Got $6 Billion in Paycheck Protection Program Aid, Study Says

Private schcash_money_coronaools as well as charter schools have received $6 billion in federal coronavirus aid in the form of forgivable loans, according to a study by a nonprofit group.

The estimate published Tuesday by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which focuses on federal fiscal issues, notes that this Paycheck Protection Program funding is a little less than half of the roughly $13 billion in separate aid provided to states and K-12 school districts for K-12 under the CARES Act, which President Donald Trump signed into law in late March.

The Paycheck Protection Program, which provided loans to businesses and nonprofit entitities that can be converted to grants, was funded by the CARES Act and a subsequent virus relief package enacted in April. Traditional public schools are not eligible to apply for PPP money.

Sen. Rand Paul filed S.4432 on August 4, 2020. The bill, cited as the “Support Children Having Open Opportunities for Learning Act of 2020” or the “SCHOOL Act of 2020”would provide federal funds to be distributed through an education savings account directly to students. The bill would supersede any statutory prohibitions of the allocation of federal funds. Should the bill pass the U.S. Senate it is unlikely that it will pass the U.S. House. It is another example of the continued push for vouchers that we see emerging from the federal government at this time.

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Sen. Rand Paul files federal voucher bill4e9bb45d255c5494d44bb10f79052a13

Sen. Rand Paul filed S.4432 on August 4, 2020. The bill, cited as the “Support Children Having Open Opportunities for Learning Act of 2020” or the “SCHOOL Act of 2020”would provide federal funds to be distributed through an education savings account directly to students. The bill would supersede any statutory prohibitions of the allocation of federal funds. Should the bill pass the U.S. Senate it is unlikely that it will pass the U.S. House. It is another example of the continued push for vouchers that we see emerging from the federal government at this time.

Click here to read the bill…

The Coalition for Public Schools submits virtual schools network letter to Texas education commissioner

AUSTIN, Texas – In response to suggestions that legislatively imposed restrictions to the Texas Virtual Schools Network the Coalition for Public Schools has submitted a letter to Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath providing recommendations to enable online learning during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter discusses the effectiveness of current online offerings and offers suggestions for moving forward including extending current online provisions for public schools and convening a broad group of stakeholders to consider solutions before the 87th Texas Legislature convenes in January of 2021.

You can read the entire letter at the link below:

TxVSN Letter050420_CM

Judge rules Tennessee’s voucher law is unconstitutional

800NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee judge on Monday ruled that the state’s much-debated school voucher program is illegal and cannot be implemented despite education officials receiving thousands of applications from parents hoping to use public tax dollars on private school tuition.

Davidson County Chancellor Anne C. Martin said in her order that the voucher law, which Gov. Bill Lee signed into effect last year, violated the Tennessee constitution’s “home rule.” Lee’s administration had backed the legislation during his first year as governor, gaining just narrow support from the GOP-controlled Statehouse and strong opposition from Democratic members and public education advocates.

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The Danger Private School Voucher Programs Pose to Civil Rights

GettyImages-683377988-1-1024x683Since Betsy DeVos became the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, she has continued to push for a federally funded private school voucher program. These programs currently exist in 29 states and provide state support—through direct payments or tax credits—for students to attend private schools. (see text box) Voucher supporters such as Secretary DeVos describe vouchers as providing parents with freedom of choice in education. However, some states have historically used private school voucher programs as a means to avoid racially integrating schools, as occurred during the 1950s and 1960s.1 More recently, evidence has shown that these programs are not effective at improving educational achievement.2

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