The U.S. Department of Education has announced it has set aside $180 million in federal funds from the CARES Act, and an advocate for school choice has taken notice.
According to The Cato Institute, citing the federal agency’s announcement, the coronavirus aid package includes approximately $180 million that will go to states for grant programs, including one for “microgrants” that can be used for private school tuition.
Neal McCluskey, an author and education analyst at Cato, recalls that the Obama-led administration coerced states into adopting Common Core Standards by seducing them with a portion of substantial federal funds. He says the Trump administration is offering much less funding and for a very different purpose.
"The current one is about school choice primarily,” he advises.
The education analyst says he is grateful to see school-choice initiatives after witnessing the Obama administration demand more centralized control, but he points out the grant program still leads back to the federal government.
"Whether you like the goal or not,” he tells OneNewsNow, “bureaucratic contests are an unacceptable way to make policy.”
Writing about the grant funds at the Cato website, McCluskey further explains:
As I have argued before, while school choice is good, a broad federal program would be bad, presenting a real threat of not just new regulation of private schools, but regulation on a national basis. As families started using federal aid it would bring in tentacles all from one creature: the federal government. No having to go state‐by‐state if you want to control private schools – just lobby Washington.