DeVos drops controversial rule giving coronavirus aid to private schools


The Education Department did not respond to a query about the issue. The department did not announce the decision to drop the rule but put it in an update Wednesday about the Cares Act. The department said that the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia had ordered the rule vacated on Friday, Sept. 4, and that, therefore, the rule “is no longer in effect.”

Lawmakers from both parties said that most of the Cares Act’s K-12 education funding was intended to be distributed to public and private elementary and secondary schools using a formula based on how many poor children they serve that had long been used for distributing federal aid.

But DeVos said she wanted money sent to private schools based on the total number of students in the school, not how many students from low-income families attended. That would have sent hundreds of millions of dollars more to private schools than Congress had intended.

On July 1, a rule from the Education Department took effect that it billed as a compromise, though critics said it was not much better than the original plan. The department said school districts may distribute Cares Act funding to private schools based on the number of poor students they enroll — but if they do that, they can use the funding only for the benefit of poor students. School districts say that was impossible to implement.

On Friday, federal judge Dabney Friedrich ordered that the rule be vacated because it violated the law. “In enacting the education funding provisions of the CARES Act, Congress spoke with a clear voice,” Friedrich wrote, saying that DeVos did not follow the law when she changed the formula for distributing the funds to private schools.

Friedrich was the third judge who ruled against DeVos on the rule. Two earlier cases were heard in Washington and California, and both judges put a hold on the implementation of the rule in limited areas of the country. Friedrich’s decision covered the entire country and ordered that the rule be vacated.

Here is Friedrich’s ruling:



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