DeVos revives failed push to privatize education
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is using the coronavirus crisis to revive her failed push to privatize education. This time, she’s calling for “microgrants” instead of vouchers. But the impact would be the same: robbing the public schools that educate 9 out of 10 students of funding, robbing the public of accountability, and diverting taxpayer dollars from public to private systems.
DeVos admits her latest scheme is just vouchers by another name. “I’ve always believed education funding should be tied to students, not systems,” she said at a March 27 press conference at the White House. “It is shameful that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos would use a pandemic like the coronavirus to, once again, push her failed privatization agenda to defund public schools,” responded NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. Congress has rejected DeVos’ voucher schemes for three years and must do it again. TAKE ACTION
Congress contemplates fourth coronavirus package
The coronavirus legislation enacted thus far is a good start, but doesn’t do nearly enough for students and educators—especially in light of school closures, the switch to online instruction, and the intense strain on state budgets we know is coming. Now is the time to begin pushing for more funding where we know it is needed: the Education Stabilization Fund to help fill state budget gaps and prevent educator layoffs, closing the “homework gap” experienced by students who don’t have internet devices or access at home, and expanding student loan forgiveness.
All Americans need paid sick leave not just when they are sick, but when they need to care for incapacitated family members. With state budget shortfalls looming ever larger, the federal government needs to pay a bigger share of Medicaid costs to stave off cuts in education and other essential public services. The federal government also needs to protect voting rights—the money provided thus far is not nearly enough to ensure every citizen actually has the opportunity to vote by absentee ballot or other means in November’s nationwide elections. TAKE ACTION
Cheers and Jeers
Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to waive the requirement that children must be physically present when school meals are picked up—and it agreed. For details, please see the Washington Post.