Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Fight Over COVID Aid Between Private Schools and States Heats Up


Amid uncertainty over whether Congress will provide additional aid money to help schools weather the pandemic, disputes over the relief package lawmakers did provide to K-12 nearly three months ago are intensifying.

One example of this fight between private schools and local public school districts is in Pennsylvania, where the state education department recently swatted aside a complaint by the state's Catholic Conference that the state is improperly disregarding U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' guidance about how relief money should be distributed. And this kind of spat isn't confined to one state.

A bit of background: In nonbinding guidance for CARES Act relief money, DeVos said equitable services—programs provided by districts using federal aid that typically assist disadvantaged students in private schools—must be provided by districts to all local private school students. That position drew swift condemnation from many state and local education officials, including Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera, who said in a letter to federal officials last month that the guidance is "clearly inequitable" and hurts local school districts.


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