Betsy DeVos isn’t focused on the looming crisis in education funding, educators’ need for personal protective equipment (PPE), or students’ need for internet access so they can do schoolwork at home. Instead, she’s using the coronavirus crisis to push her failed privatization agenda with schemes like “microgrants”—just another name for vouchers—and extra help for private and religious schools. “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,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.
In short, Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration are pushing privatization when the focus should be state budget shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic—and what those massive shortfalls mean for the public schools that educate 9 out of 10 students. NEA is asking Congress for an additional $175 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund created by the CARES Act—the $30.7 billion authorized thus far is not nearly enough. The non-partisan National Governors Association is calling for even more—an additional $500 billion in direct relief to state and local governments. But Congress needs to hear from us. Right now. A decade ago, during the Great Recession, state and local governments scrapped essential student services and laid off tens of thousands of educators. We can’t let that happen again.
Email your members of Congress and tell them the next COVID-19 bill should include at least $175 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund.