“If schools aren’t going to reopen, we’re not suggesting pulling funding from education but instead allowing families … (to) take that money and figure out where their kids can get educated if their schools are going to refuse to open,” Betsy DeVos told Fox News in an interview.
DeVos, a proponent of private and religious education who has long pushed “school choice,” gave no details on the plan.
U.S. schools are scrambling to prepare for the academic year even as the surging pandemic has topped 3 million confirmed cases. President Donald Trump has accused those cautious about his call for reopening schools fully of attacking him politically, but he has not disclosed a federal plan to coordinate the effort.
Local administrators must weigh the needs of children, families, teachers and staff. In addition to health concerns about the highly contagious and potentially fatal disease, the economic consequences are vast. Many working parents rely on schools for child care as well as education.
It was unclear how the administration planned to redirect federal education dollars. The U.S. Congress would have to approve any change, which would likely face resistance by Democrats who control the House of Representatives.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said everyone wants to open schools “but it must be safe for the children.”