Amidst the pandemic, the United States is the most affected country in the world, with over 6 million cases and more than a hundred thousand fatalities till now. Apart from people’s health, the country’s GDP is declining dramatically. Goldman Sachs has given a rough estimate of the US 2020 GDP, which has declined by 9% in the first quarter, and in quarter two, it has tailed off by 34%.
The economy of the nation is struggling, and the education department is no exception. Therefore, the government decided to raise Coronavirus aid for public schools in the United States. However, a few weeks ago, The Trump Administration came forward with a policy for all the public schools in the United States to share part of their COVID-19 relief fund with private schools. In support of this, Betsy DeVos, the Education Secretary, said, “ I will force the public school authorities to do the same if that’s what is required.” It seems like she is fulfilling her long-sought agenda using the pandemic.
As per the rule imposed by the Education secretary, Public Schools have to set aside a certain proportion of the Coronavirus relief funding for private schools. It has come into light that the part of the aid that is proposed for the private schools is to be calculated using a specified formula. According to Public School Review, the Coronavirus Aid is not enough to make up for the expected state budget cuts that the federal government passed to help public education. The question is how it’s going to support both private and public education.
The policy has been challenged by the officials of Public schools in the United States, stating that the funding should be based on total students having low-income instead of the total enrollment of students. That’s how funding is shared under other federal rules with private schools in the legislation forming the relief aid that Congress referenced. However, DeVos said that it is quite different from other federal aid and is supposed to support all students equally. On a call with reporters, She further said, “There is nothing in the law Congress passed that would allow districts to discriminate against children and teachers based on private school attendance and employment.”
There is a difference of more than ten million dollars between using the two formulas. In case of emergencies, these rules come into a process that is issued by the Education Department. Urgent action was needed on the matter because numerous private schools were permanently closed amidst the pandemic. Moreover, the education secretary referred it to the looming crisis for the nation. As a backer of US private school for a long time, she has championed it through her career. She already knew the department would oppose her actions to financially secure private education in these difficult times. However, looking at the situation of the private school calls for the share of funding action.
With more than 100 private schools temporarily closed during the pandemic and there is no chance of reopening, and dozens of them are permanently closed, the decision of funding then with a portion of COVID-19 aid is taken. As per the new rule, On the total enrollment of private schools, the funds will be issued to them.