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DeVos's latest rule change under CARES Act money ‘is as clear as mud’

NEA: ‘This is not a moment for DeVos to take liberties to advance her radical agenda’

WASHINGTON - June 25, 2020 -

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today issued a rule regarding students whose learning was impacted by COVID-19 and who could receive emergency funding authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The following statement can be attributed to Lily Eskelsen García, president of the 3-million member National Education Association:

“Betsy DeVos’s latest rule on the CARES Act money is as clear as mud. In fact, she has made it even more confusing as to how the federal funding will be distributed and what local education agencies are supposed to do in this time of unprecedented crisis. The law was clear. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have underlined their intent with the CARES Act. This is not a moment for DeVos to take liberties to advance her radical agenda.

“DeVos’s rule essentially limits much needed flexibility for public schools and diverts emergency education funding away from public schools and students in need and gives it to unaccountable private schools. DeVos is still trying to distribute the funds overall based on total population but is trying to stem the inevitable lawsuit by saying local education agencies can choose to distribute based on Title I, with additional accountability measures for those public school districts. Regardless, this rule directly contradicts what was written in the CARES Act law. On top of that, charter school agencies are not bound to sharing this money, making the public schools bear the entire cost of her radical scheme.

“Make no mistake about it, DeVos continues to use the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic crisis to push her extreme agenda to privatize public education — something that has failed for the three and a half years she has served as Education Secretary under the Trump administration. As we said before, if DeVos was really concerned about students in need, why was she missing in action when Congress debated efforts during the passage of the CARES Act to close the ‘homework gap’ caused by the digital divide? Why is she dead silent as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stalls the Senate’s passage of the HEROES Act, which would provide an education stabilization fund that educators, families, governors, superintendents, and stakeholders have all said is needed to reopen schools safely and fight off the potential loss of 1.9 million education jobs? Her political agenda is irresponsible, dangerous and hurtful to students who she sees as just collateral damage.”

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at

Staci Maiers, NEA Communications
2020 202-270-5333 cell,