Washington, D.C.—Today, Secretary Betsy DeVos’s announced that the Department of Education will force local school districts to redirect a portion of federal funding intended to help deal with the Covid-19 pandemic from public schools to private, religious schools.
In April, the Department of Education released non-binding guidance encouraging school districts to share Covid-19 funding with private religious schools. Today’s interim final rule, however, mandates this taxpayer giveaway to religious schools.
In response to this obligatory taxpayer giveaway to religious education, Nick Fish, president of American Atheists, released the following statement:
Betsy DeVos is exploiting the Covid-19 crisis to achieve her Christian nationalist agenda: force school districts to transfer funds from evidence-based education to religious indoctrination. She admits as much, showing more concern for the ‘more than 100 private schools [that] have already announced they will not be able to reopen following the pandemic’ than the hundreds of thousands of public school students in high poverty areas.
For once, DeVos must place the public interest above her private obsession with using taxpayer dollars to fund religion. As public schools face budget shortfalls due to collapsing tax revenues, now is the time public education needs more funding, not less.