AASA Statement in Response to USED Interim Rule on Equitable Services for CARES Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
James Minichello
703-875-0723
703-774-6953 (cell)
jminichello@aasa.org

Alexandria, Va. – June 25, 2020 – Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, issued the following statement in response to the new interim rule on equitable services under the CARES Act, issued today by the U.S. Department of Education.

“AASA is deeply disappointed in U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ doubling down on her flawed guidance for equitable services for the emergency CARES funding to support schools, a move that will shift an additional $1.3 billion beyond what Congress intended from Title I students in public schools to support all students in private schools.

“The policy priorities of the Secretary represent an opportunistic money grab, using the pandemic environment to advance the privatization agenda.

“AASA stands by the historical application of equitable services, ensuring services and supports for private schools based on Title I eligible students served, which aligns with both the clear intent of Congress in the CARES Act as well as the applicable underlying statute in the Every Student Succeeds Act. The DeVos interim rule would further lock in the inherently inequitable allocation originally proposed in the flawed guidance, requiring public schools to generate their allocation of CARES funding based only on Title I eligible students, while allowing all private schools to generate their share of funding by counting all of their students.

“When afforded the opportunity to rescind and revise the CARES guidance to align with the CARES statute—and to be consistent with broader equitable services guidance her department issued in October 2019—Secretary DeVos chooses to instead reaffirm her support for inequitable allocation of federal CARES funding and her commitment to using the COVID pandemic as a catalyst for using dollars intended for Title I eligible students in public schools to subsidize wealthier students in private schools. 

“Now is not the time to abuse the technical assistance and federal register processes to accomplish privatization goals. It is a time for leadership from all levels, focused on ensuring critical federal resources reach our nation’s schools and the students they serve as expeditiously and efficiently as possible in a manner consistent with the law. AASA will be mobilizing school superintendents across the nation to highlight the misstep and disservice inherent in the Secretary’s proposal. We stand ready to engage with educators and administrators across this nation to support the education of all students, to keep the ‘equity’ in equitable services, and to ensure our nation’s neediest public school students aren’t left subsidizing private schools.”

###

For specific questions, please contact Noelle Ellerson Ng, AASA associate executive director, advocacy and governance, at nellerson@aasa.org.

###

About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education. For more information, visit www.aasa.org.