U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced a new rule Thursday that directs school districts on how to spend their coronavirus aid money.
NPR reports that the rule provides school districts with two options. Option one, requires the districts to pay for "equitable services" like tutoring or transportation for all private school students in the district, should it choose to spend money on interventions that will reach all students. The outlet notes that for option two, should a district choose to use it's aid money on low-income students, it would need to provide equitable services for private schools based on how many low-income students those schools serve.
News of this rule is being met with backlash from lawmakers and education associations who say the aid money is meant to be used to assist low-income students within school districts. Roughly $13 billion in the CARES Act was reportedly allotted to help public schools.
On Twitter, DeVos pushed back against criticism saying "There is nothing in the CARES Act that allows for districts to discriminate against children and teachers from private schools. Now is not the time to focus on what word comes before 'school.' Now is the time to focus on doing what’s right for all students."
The rule follows guidance issued by DeVos in the spring which suggested that private schools receive a portion of the aid.