Arntzen Silent as DeVos Diverts COVID-19 Relief to Private Schools  

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Monday, May 18, 2020

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Arntzen Silent as DeVos Diverts COVID-19 Relief to Private Schools
Helena, MT – According to new reporting, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to push her long-standing agenda to divert taxpayer dollars to private schools. According to the New York Times, DeVos’s plan will “shift more than $1.5 million [in Montana] to private and home schools, up from about $206,469 that the schools are due under current law.” Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen made a point of tweeting about her cozy relationship with the Secretary DeVos, but has yet to say anything about the move to privatize Montana schools.

Arntzen has always had a close relationship with DeVos — and her failure to stand up for Montana’s schools is par for the course in her disgraceful tenure. When the Trump administration rolled out its budget for 2021, Arntzen cheered the billion dollar cuts to public education — including a $30 million cut to Montana schools. Arntzen failed to show up for the most basic bipartisan legislation in support of public schools during the 2019 legislature, yet went so far as to appear with DeVos at an ALEC-sponsored panel last year in support of privatizing Montana’s public schools.

“Montana’s students and teachers deserve a real advocate in the Office of Public Instruction. If Elsie and Betsy have their way in siphoning funds away from public schools, rural Montana kids will disproportionately suffer,” said MDP Executive Director Sandi Luckey. “Arntzen’s apathy towards educating Montana’s leaders of tomorrow is nothing new, but to do nothing as federal officials take advantage of a crisis to push political agendas is another new low. Montanans deserve better.”


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