SLF Joins Coalition to Support School Choice

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

Washington, DC (August 24, 2020): In support of private schools and parental rights, Southeastern Legal Foundation joined an amicus curiae brief filed by Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty in NAACP v. DeVos - a third legal challenge in federal court over a federal Education Department interim rule about CARES Act relief for schools. The amicus brief, filed on behalf of 43 state and national groups, represents the important interests of America’s private schools in this critical debate. COVID-19’s impact on education was not restricted to public schools. With more than 5 million students attending 33,000 schools, the federal CARES Act relief is critical for the safety and education of the nearly 10% of American students attending private schools.

The $2.2 trillion federal CARES Act, passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, included an Education Stabilization Fund to support schools with the costs of safely reopening and navigating the crisis. The law directed the Department of Education to distribute these funds “equitably” between public and private schools and students but did not dictate exactly how the funds should be distributed.

On June 25, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos issued an interim final rule that gives states and local public-school districts options for how to fairly allocate CARES Act relief to private schools. Many states and local school districts refused to follow the rule. The NAACP, joined by a few school districts and parents, filed a federal lawsuit against the Education Department challenging the interim final rule and argued that the majority of the funding should be directed to public schools. Plaintiffs seek a nationwide injunction against the rule.

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