Washington – something surprising coming from a Democratic congress taken in a $ 1.9 trillion pandemic rescue law and a president long seen as a champion of public education – amounted to nearly $ 3 billion for private schools.
More surprising is who got it there: New York senator Chuck Schumer, a majority leader whose constituents were deprived of his party’s will, and Randy Weingarten, leader of one of the nation’s most powerful teacher unions, who accepted Kiya was the responsibility of the federal government to help all schools overcome the epidemic, even those who do not accept her group.
The deal angered other Democratic leaders and public school advocates after Mr. Schumer lobbied the powerful conservative Jewish community in New York City, who withdrew federal funds for private efforts by the Trump administration and congressional Republicans Been trying for years. Schools, including the last two coronovirus relief bills.
Democrats called for President Donald J. Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, was pushed to use the epidemic relief bill to help private schools, only to do it themselves.
And even after the House Democrats sought to formulate private school provision materially by capping the coronovirus relief for private education in a $ 200 million bill about such funding. Mr. Schumer, at the 11th hour, attacked the House’s provision and poured $ 2.75 billion – nearly 12 times more money than the House.
“We never anticipated Senate Democrats choosing directly to private schools to reduce the slippage of funding.” Protest was done by writing a letter to Congress. “The floodplains are open and now with bipartisan support, why won’t private schools ask for more federal money?”
Mr. Schumer’s move led to significant contradictions behind the scenes as Congress prepared to pass the most important funding bill for public education in modern history. Senator Patty Murray, chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said she was so unhappy that she battled to secure last-minute language, using the money that was earmarked for “non-secondary schools” Were those who recorded a significant percentage of low-income students and are most affected by qualifying emergencies. “
“I am proud of what the American Rescue Plan will provide to our students and schools, and in this case in particular, I am pleased that Democrats have better targeted these resources for students” Pandemic said in a statement said in. .
Jewish leaders in New York have long sought help for their denomination’s schools, but resistance in the House prompted them to turn to Mr. Schumer, Nathan J. Said Dyment, executive director of public policy at the Federation of Orthodox Jewish Associations of America. Who said that public schools had nothing to complain about.
“It is still the case that 10 percent of US students are in non-republic schools, and they are affected by another 90 percent of the crisis, but we are getting a very small percentage overall,” he said. Senator Schumer greatly appreciated what he did. “
Mr. Schumer faced pressure from several leaders in New York’s private school ecosystem, including the Catholic Church.
in A statement to the Jewish insider, Mr. Schumer said, “This money, without taking any money from public schools, will enable private schools, Yeshivas and more, to receive the support and services that will cover Kovid-related expenses that they provide for their students with quality Provide education. “
The amount of financing of overall education – more than double the amount of schools allocated in the last two relief bills – played some part in the concession that private schools should continue to receive billions in relief funds. The $ 125 billion in funding for K-12 education requires districts to set aside a percentage of funding to address learning losses, summer school investment and other programming to help students overcome educational disruptions during the epidemic. Help
The law also targets long-disqualified students, with an allocation of $ 3 billion for special education programming for individuals with disabilities under Individualized Education, and $ 800 million in funds dedicated to identifying and supporting homeless students.
A spokesman for Mr. Schumer said in a statement, “Make no mistake, this bill provides generous funds for public schools.” “But there are also many private schools that serve a large percentage of low-income and underprivileged students, who also need relief from the Kowle crisis.”
Proponents of the move argue that it was only a continuation of the amount borne for private schools – which also had access to the government’s aid program for small businesses in the first pandemic – in the $ 2.3 trillion Ketchel package Passed in december. But critics said that when Republicans controlled the Senate, and Democrats indicated they wanted to take a different direction. They also argue that Mr. Schumer’s decision came at the expense of public education, noting that the version of the bill that was initially passed by the House allocated nearly $ 3 billion more for elementary and secondary schools. .
Mr. Schumer’s move alienated his Democratic colleagues from the Guard, according to many people familiar with the deliberations, and prompted aggressive efforts on behalf of advocacy groups to reverse it. The National Education Association, the nation’s largest teacher’s union and a powerful ally of the Biden administration, raised its objections with the White House, according to many familiar with the organization’s efforts.
in Letter to lawmakers, Director of the Union of Governmental Affairs, wrote that while praising the bill, “we would be rhesus if we didn’t express our strong disappointment in including the Senate of Bates DeVos-era $ 2.75 billion for private schools – previously Despite many methods and money. Provided to private schools. “
Unhappy with Mr. Schumer’s disunity, among Democrats was California Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who told her that he preferred what Democrats had secured in the House version, according to people familiar with their conversation. He also stated that Rep. Robert C. Scott, chairman of the House Education Committee, was “very upset” about both the substance and Mr. Schumer’s revision process, and his staff communicated to him that he had been “insulted”.
Many went on to go with the Democrats, especially Ms. Pelosi, many said. Ms. Wengarten reiterated to the speaker’s office that she expressed to Mr. Schumer when she made her decision: not only would she not fight the provision, but it was also the right thing to do.
Last year, Ms. Weingarten led the call Reject Ms. DeVos’s orders Legislation beyond what is required to help them recover, to force public school districts to increase the amount of federal relief money they share with private schools.
At the time, private schools were going out of business daily, especially small schools that primarily served low-income students, and private schools were only among those still to learn during the epidemic. Trying to keep the doors open.
But Ms. Wengarten said that under the guidance of Ms. DeVos “private schools are given more funding and help that goes to the students who need it the most” because the wealthier could support the students.
This time around, Ms. Weingarten changed her tune.
In an interview, she defended her endorsement of the provision, saying it was different from previous efforts to fund private schools that she had opposed under the Trump administration, which pulled out a more significant percentage of funding and allowed private Was sought to be used for further development. School Tuition Voucher. The new law also had more safeguards, she said, such as requiring that it be spent on poor students and not reimbursed to private schools.
Ms Wengarten said, “Non-unhealthy children who are in parochial schools, their families do not have the means, and they have gone to schoolchildren in the same way through Kovid”.
“All our children need to survive, and Kovid needs to be cured, and it will be a ‘shonda’, if we don’t really provide the emotional support and non-violent support that all our children need right now and then.” Is needed for this emergency, “she said, using a Yiddish word for shame.
Mr. Diemer compared Mr. Schumer’s decision to Senator Edward M. It was more than a decade before Kennedy to include private schools in emergency relief funds if he served students displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
Mr Diement said he did not expect private schools to see this as an example to look for other forms of funding.
“In emergency contexts, whether they are hurricanes, earthquakes, or global epidemics, they are situations where we all need to be together,” he said. “They are exceptional conditions, and that is how they should be treated.”