For public educators, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a crisis, which they’re tackling through hard work, creativity, and communication with students and families. Educators are streaming lessons, delivering meals, and bridging gaps in technology—with enormous approval from parents.
But for for-profit education businesses and proponents of school privatization, especially Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the pandemic is something else.
It’s an opportunity, a chance to steer hundreds of millions of dollars in public money away from public schools and students, and into private businesses and corporations. From Washington, D.C., DeVos has created a $180 million voucher program for private and religious schools, using federal coronavirus-relief funds, and has ordered states to redistribute their CARES Act funds to private schools. Two states have refused, and key Republican Senator Lamar Alexander—chair of the Senate’s powerful education committee and a former Secretary of Education—has questioned DeVos’ attempt to rewrite federal rules intended to support low-income students.