DeVos the Destroyer

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is using the COVID-19 pandemic to further her school privatization agenda. Chalkbeat reports that DeVos is tying the awarding of certain CARES Act funds to a state’s willingness to further school vouchers and virtual schools.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will use $180 million in federal coronavirus relief earmarked for the hardest-hit states to create voucher-like grants for parents and to expand virtual education.

State education agencies can apply for federal money by proposing one of three things.

The first is “microgrants” — what some would call “vouchers” — meant to give families more options for remote learning. Those grants could be used to pay for tutoring, summer programs, tuition to a private or public school online program, counseling, test prep, or textbooks, among other things. The state must allow private organizations to provide those services.

The second option is for states to create a statewide virtual school or another program allowing students to access classes that their regular school doesn’t offer. States can either expand an existing program or create one from scratch.

Tennessee is already seeing the proliferation of virtual providers as long-time troublemaker K12, Inc. is facing stiff competition from Pearson to gobble up state dollars.

DeVos wont’ rest, it seems, until her dream of destroying public education has been realized. In a time of pandemic-induced panic and uncertainty, our nation’s Education Secretary is seeking to disrupt the stability and sense of community provided by public schools.

Betsy DeVos testifies before the Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee confirmation hearing to be next Secretary of Education on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport

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