Education Department’s New Equitable Services Rule “No Longer in Effect”
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) updated its webpage for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, authorized through the CARES Act, to reflect the outcome of a September 4, 2020 court case, NAACP v. DeVos. The ruling ordered ED to vacate its interim final rule on equitable services.
The Department’s recent interpretation of equitable services requires funding from the CARES Act to be distributed to nonpublic schools based on total enrollment, rather than enrollment of low-income students. This interpretation has resulted in a greater share of federal COVID-19 relief funding being distributed to nonpublic schools.
The opinion in NAACP v. DeVos has national implications. Thus, ED stated that the interim final rule is “no longer in effect.” ED has 30 days to appeal the ruling but has not stated its intent to do so.
The court’s opinion is a victory for CEC and other proponents of public education funding. In July, CEC wrote a letter to the Department in opposition to the equitable services interim final rule because it diverts funding intended for public schools. CEC President Dr. Jenn Lesh urged the Department to rescind the rule “so that our most vulnerable students are supported, and our public-school system does not experience further financial erosion.”
To view the opinion in NAACP v. DeVos, go here.
To view CEC’s letter to the Department of Education, go here.