Department of Education Abandons Controversial “Equitable Services” Rule After Court Ruling

The U.S. Department of Education has tabled a controversial rule that could have forced public schools to share a larger share of COVID-19 relief funds with private institutions.

“The update follows a federal judge's Sept. 4 decision to strike down the rule nationwide after she determined it violated Congress's intent in drafting the CARES Act, a massive federal aid package,” Education Week reports. “Two other courts had temporarily paused the rule, but the recent court decision and the Education Department's response are more permanent. 

Advocates for public schools said the rule, backed by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, would have siphoned needed funds away from public schools at a time when an economic crisis threatens their staffing and programs.”

The directive on “equitable services”, issued July 1, called on schools to set aside CARES Act funds for all local private school students, not just those at a disadvantage. The latest update says the interim final rule is no longer in effect.