A spokeswoman for the Education Department maintained that Secretary Betsy DeVos had been clear that aid should reach all students, including private school students, but did not comment on the states' lawsuit specifically. She found neither of these acceptable, saying instead that schools must be "fully operational" when they reopen for the new school year.
At a White House event earlier Tuesday, Trump vowed that his administration would "put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools" after noting that administrators in Florida recently announced plans to reopen schools in that state starting next month. "A choice of two days per week in the classroom is not a choice at all", DeVos said, according to audio of the call obtained by The Associated Press. Health officials say students need to be in schools this fall to continue their educational development and to access meal programs and services for mental and behavioral health.
"The virus does not differentiate between students, and there should not be distinctions between sectors of schools in a health crisis", said Ron Reynolds, executive director of the California Association of Private School Organizations.
DeVos echoed the president in saying they're "urging governors across the country" to reopen schools and claimed "there's nothing in the data that would suggest that it would not be appropriate to he kids in school".
A coalition of blue states sued the Department of Education on Tuesday, saying that coronavirus aid has been illegally diverted by department officials toward private schools, some of which have already received assistance during the pandemic.
The rule "creates a false choice where school districts must include private schools on the basis of their total population or be forced to jump through unnecessary hoops to do what Congress intended and make sure the funds get to schools that are hurting the most", Becerra said.
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DeVos also criticized many schools' attempts at distance education after the pandemic prompted them to move classes online last spring.
"The Secretary of Education manufactured guidance and a rule that favored non-public schools at the expense of public schools", said Dana Nessel, Michigan Attorney General.
"It's clear that the greater risk to our society is to have these schools close", Redfield said. "So why should they receive funds for something they're not going to do?" "The CDC encourages all schools to do what they need to reopen, and to have plans that anticipate that COVID-19 cases will in fact occur".
When Cavuto asked about the president threatening to cut aid for schools that don't reopen, DeVos said schools would be breaking their "promise" to schools by not reopening. "Our behavior, our commitment to shared sacrifice - or our selfishness - will determine what happens this fall for kids".
"And those are issues for local school buildings and school districts to work out", DeVos said.
Becerra contends that is an unlawful interpretation of the CARES act, which allows private schools to get a disproportionate amount of Title I funds - traditionally reserved for low-income students.