Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Do All Students Matter?

Secretary DeVos Issues Rule to Ensure CARES Act Funding Serves All Students--even in Faith-Based Schools

Gives districts options for determining the amount of CARES Act funding for equitable services to private school students    JUNE 25, 2020

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued a rule that would help to ensure all students whose learning was impacted by COVID-19 are served equitably by emergency funding authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, no matter where they attend school. The Interim Final Rule (IFR), which becomes effective immediately, outlines how local education agencies (LEAs) must calculate the emergency funds available for providing equitable services to students and teachers in private schools.
Providing equitable services is long-standing law under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). LEAs provide no money to private schools under these equitable services provisions. Instead, they provide secular, neutral, and nonideological services to nonpublic schools after consulting with private school leaders about the needs of students and is expected that most of the emergency funding will go toward services like cleaning, equipment to protect student and teacher health, teacher training in remote instruction, and distance education tools.
Read full document here:

These intentions were reiterated by the Senate a few weeks later. The assumed premise of the federal government's action was to HELP ALL STUDENTS since ALL students in ALL districts are required to jump through the same "hoops" to reopen in the fall. In her cover letter for the "Michigan Safe Schools Roadmap for Reopening," Governor Whitmer expressed her responsibility to ALL students in the state, and since ALL taxpayers fund ALL the educational efforts of the state--including those tax payers whose taxes support public schools even as they choose to pay tuition for faith-based privates schools, it was assumed that the emergency funds provided by the federral government to ALL states to help ALL schools so ALL students could return to the safest possible settings in the fall, for a couple weeks, ALL schools, including CCS, thought we would be getting help to pay for hand sanitizers, PPE, disinfection of building, quarantine protocols, tools for electorinic learning options (we spent about $10,000 to achieve our "distance learning" plan last spring.

Then when the Governor released her "Roadmap" there was no mention of private schools, no mention of the distinctions between large districts and small systems like CCS. For instance, the small manageable "cohorts" of most small faith-based schools compared to the hundreds of students at each grade level in most large public schools is a distinct advantage. Did her failure to mention non-public schools mean that she learned from the law suit from last May and decided she should leave faith-based institutions alone? Or did it just mean that she had no intention of prorating the funds she mentioned to help ALL students?

For 40 years, CCS has not accepted state or federal funds, but in light of the "all inclusive" emergency funds intended to help schools pay for the needs being imposed upon them during this pandemic, it does seeem reasonable to help protect ALL STUDENTS. It is a myth that faith-based private schools are "rich" and don't need help. Roughly half of the students at CCS receive need-based financial aid. We go to great lengths to be a school for ALL homes that are active in a local Evangelical church and  interested in a Christian Worldview education. Sometimes families need financial help, and ALL of our homes understand and support that idea. The truth is the government only has "tax income" to use toward such efforts, and the parents of private school children pay those taxes. 

Read about Governor Whitmer's law suit to decline Covid-19 aid to private schools here:

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