Levin, Stevens lead Michigan Lawmakers in Letter Admonishing DeVos Rule to Strip Public School Funding

July 30, 2020
Press Release
“The Department has distorted the plain language of the CARES Act potentially to divert federal emergency aid dollars intended for public schools to private school students.”

Text of Letter

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09), Vice Chair of the House Education and Labor Committee and fellow committee member Congresswoman Haley Stevens (MI-11) led all seven Democratic members of the Michigan delegation, Reps. Dan Kildee (MI-05), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) and Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) in a comment letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos opposing her interpretation of the equitable services provision of the bipartisan, bicameral Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

“The Department has distorted the plain language of the CARES Act potentially to divert federal emergency aid dollars intended for public schools to private school students,” wrote the lawmakers. “Students in Michigan public schools will lose $40,175,623 due to this rule that advances the Administration’s ideological agenda but violates both the letter and intent of the CARES Act.”

On July 7th , Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel joined California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in leading a coalition of five states and the District of Colombia to sue Secretary DeVos over this rule. The suit asserts that it was not the intent of Congress to use the money on private schools, and that the action is unconstitutional. On July 17th, Attorneys General Nessel and Becerra sought a preliminary injunction to prevent Secretary DeVos and the Department from spending money on private schools while the lawsuit is pending. The lawmakers expressed full support of Attorney General Nessel’s ongoing lawsuit and effort to secure a preliminary injunction against this rule. 

The lawmakers urged Secretary DeVos to rescind this rule and all associated guidance, thus allowing states to comply with the CARES Act as Congress wrote it and utilize all emergency resources to safely reopen public schools.

In a June committee hearing, Rep. Levin called the DeVos’s rule “segregation in our time” that will further entrench inequity and systemic racism in our education system.

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