Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rejects part-time reopening for schools amid pandemic

Betsy DeVos Demands Schools Fully Reopen -- No Distance Learning, No Part-Time Classrooms

Michigan AG Nessel takes legal action against US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos over CARES Act interpretation

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, right.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday assailed plans by some local districts to offer in-person instruction only a few days a week and said schools must be "fully operational" even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

Attorneys general of the District of Columbia, Maine, New Mexico, and Wisconsin have joined Nessel and Becerra in filing the lawsuit. The two methods are said to contradict CARES Act requirements. DeVos said she was disappointed in schools that "didn't figure out how to serve students or who just gave up and didn't try".

"We want to reopen the schools", Trump said.

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The CARES Act says schools districts are to share federal pandemic funds with surrounding private schools according to the Title One of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

"Students across the country have already fallen behind".

"Private schools that cease to exist will just create an added burden for public schools", he said.

Specifically, she insisted that schools should be prepared to offer five days of instruction per week. Some states say the amount they are being ordered to share with private schools is illegal.

California Superintendent Tony Thurmond applauded the lawsuit and said California's public schools stand to lose tens of millions of dollars in aid that could be used to provide meals or improve distance learning for low-income students.

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"The coronavirus did not discriminate based on the kind of schools MI kids attend, and neither did the governor's executive order shuttering every school building in the state", said executive director Beth DeShone.

A portion of the funds must be allocated to private school students in the same manner as funds are apportioned to private school students under Title I. The lawsuit doesn't dispute that point either, Becerra's press office wrote in an email.

In a statement in June, DeVos said the CARES act was meant to aid "all American students, teachers, and families impacted" by COVID-19.

Anything less, she says, would fail students and taxpayers. In California, about 6,600 of the state's approximately 11,300 district and charter schools receive Title I funding. Lamar Alexander, R-TN, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Keeping students at home can lead to social isolation, the organization said, and prevent schools from identifying learning deficits, abuse, depression and other issues. "We need to make sure that they catch up", DeVos said.

"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. The average tuition of those schools was $7,380.

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In the new state budget, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature directed an additional $5 billion in CARES funding to districts to address students' learning loss.

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