Urgent: Stop Ted Cruz and Betsy DeVos From Using COVID Relief to Fund Private School Scholarships

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It is hard to believe. Rather than fully support our public schools that are struggling to safely re-open, Ted Cruz, Betsy DeVos, and their friends are trying to divert COVID relief public funds to push their school privatization agenda. 

The new so-called “Skinny Bill” introduced in the Senate would create “Freedom Grants” and tax credits that push enrollment in private schools. 

Send your email to your Senators and tell them to put public schools first.

Then pick up the phone and call these Senators:

Senator Blunt  (202) 224-5721; Senator Capito (202)-224-6472; Senator Collins (202)224-2523; Senator Moran (202) 224-6521; Senator Murkowski (202)-224-6665; Senator Roberts (202)-224-4774

We suggest the following script:

My name is [name] and I would like to let the Senator know that COVID funding needs to be directed to public schools that are struggling to reopen, not to tax credits for private schools and scholarships for private and homeschool students. Private schools received billions in PPP funding that public schools did not get. I am asking that the funding in the Senate bill for K-12 schooling be increased and that it be directed to public schools, not private schools. 

Specifically, these Freedom Grants would:

— Authorize emergency appropriations funding for scholarship-granting organizations (SGOs) in each state for students to use toward  educational expenses such as private school tuition and home-schooling expenses. This would require states to set aside a portion of their public school money for private schools and homeschools based on the number of students enrolled in the state.

— Provide two years of tax credits (up to $5 billion a year) for contributions to scholarship-granting organizations based on legislation introduced by Senators Scott, Alexander, and Cruz (School Choice Now Act/S. 4284). This is a credit, not a deduction, which means that these scholarships to private schools would be completely subsidized by the federal government. 

Why You Should Care

According to the data released by the Treasury Department, at least 5,678 private schools, which only serve one-tenth the number of students than are enrolled in public schools, have received funding totaling between $2.67 billion and $6.47 billion. Public schools, which were ineligible for PPP, received $13 billion in direct aid under the CARES Act despite educating more than 50 million students. That means private schools, which only serve one-tenth the number of students, have already received funding equivalent of up to 50% of the money allocated for public school districts.

Recently,  Judge Dabney L. Friedrich ruled that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education violated the clear language of the CARES Act when DeVos issued a regulation that illegally diverted funds away from public school students for the benefit of private schools. The Network for Public Education signed on to an amicus brief in support of NAACP v. DeVos that resulted in stopping this violation of the intent of Congress. The so-called Skinny Bill would make that diversion legal.

It is clear that DeVos and the present administration have a clear mission–undermine public schools and promote a pro-private and religious school agenda.

Send your email right now and post this link on social media.

Then pick up the phone and call the Senators listed above today!