Michigan leaders block federal funding for private schools

Jul 16, 2020 by

To penalize a group of students because of perceived privilege does a tremendous disservice to families, Broderick writes.

The State of Michigan’s lawsuit challenging a United States Department of Education (USDE) Interim Final Rule on how federal relief funds are to be shared between public and nonpublic school students moved Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to say, “We know this public health crisis has created a number of obstacles for our students and educators and families. We’ve come together because we recognize that it’s our responsibility to stand up and fight for them.”

The governor’s statement and language used by both the attorney general and state superintendent of instruction surrounding this issue begs the question of “who” are they “fighting” for? The most immediate answer would seem to be only public school students.

That appears to be at best a dereliction of their duty to represent all Michigan residents. At worst, it is the intentional creation of second-class students simply based upon their parents choosing a nonpublic school as the best option for their children. Is that the Michigan we want to live in?

The CARES Act, signed into law in late March, allocates $30.75 billion to K-12 schools and higher education to respond to the many impacts of the coronavirus on students and schools. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) received nearly $390 million to allocate to school districts, with a requirement to provide a portion of the funds to nonpublic school students. How that portion is calculated is the matter in controversy.  The state superintendent chose to reserve $39 million of these funds for other uses.

Source: Opinion: Michigan leaders block federal funding for private schools

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