Foxx, McCarthy Demand Transparency from Cardona on School Closures and ARP Funds
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 12, 2022
Today, Education and Labor Committee Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) sent a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona demanding to know why there has been so little oversight of the $120 billion in American Rescue Plan funding given to K-12 schools during the pandemic and why the Biden administration has not had a more forceful response to school closures. In the letter, the members demand all documents pertaining to the Department’s role in school closures.
The Members wrote: “Democrats argued their radical spending was necessary for schools to reopen safely for in-person instruction… According to data provided to Congress by your Department, as of December 30, school districts had drawn down less than 4 percent of their ARP funds. At the same time, your agency released data in December showing during the fall, nearly 99 percent of public school fourth- and eighth-graders were attending school in person full time. So, through nearly half of the 2021-2022 school year, most schools were reopened while almost all the ARP funding for schools had gone untouched. To the extent schools are spending ARP funds at all, several are reportedly spending their funds on left wing ideological projects. This is not surprising. Despite Democrats’ claims to the contrary, these funds were not needed to reopen schools.”
The Members continued: “Even more troubling, as 2022 begins, one million public school students across the country were impacted by district-wide school closures and it is once again Democrats who continue to impede students’ access to uninterrupted, in-person instruction. … The impact school closures have had and continue to have on our students has been catastrophic.”
The Members also wrote: “As the head of the Department of Education, you cannot continue to sit idly by as families and students are left scrambling at the whim of special interests. These are your political allies blocking the schoolhouse doors. It is critical you state clearly, unequivocally, and publicly that the resumption of school closures will cause great harm to students, especially our most vulnerable students, and condemn those adults who are neglecting the students they are supposed to serve. Additionally, families deserve to have transparency on the actions and correspondence your Department officials have engaged in regarding ongoing school closures.”
The full text of the letter is available here.