Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said federal aid should go to families, not schools, if districts refuse to open this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.
DeVos has expressed strong support for a fall reopening of schools with the backing of President Trump and further explained her reasoning in an interview on Sunday.
“Look, American investment in education is a promise to students and their families,” DeVos told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. “If schools aren’t going to reopen and not fulfill that promise, they shouldn’t get the funds. Then give it to the families to decide to go to a school that is going to meet that promise.”
“It’s a promise to the American people. Let’s follow through on the promise,” she added.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) July 12, 2020
DeVos has previously teased defunding schools that don’t reopen this fall. While actually fulfilling that expectation is unlikely because funds are controlled by Congress, the recommendation to shift money from schools to parents mirrors the education secretary’s support for voucher schools, which provide taxpayer dollars to families who meet an income threshold so they can send their children to private or charter schools if they’re unsatisfied with their local public school system.
Whether schools can safely open by fall has been the center of debate, prompting Trump to also threaten to withhold federal funding to districts that refuse to fully open.
As of Sunday, the United States had reported over 3 million cases of the coronavirus and is nearing 140,000 deaths.