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Press Release Published: Oct 11, 2022

Comer & Foxx Reveal New Evidence of COVID Relief Dollars Funding Woke Initiatives

WASHINGTON—Today, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and House Committee on Education and Labor Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) are again pressing U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona about COVID relief funds intended to address students’ learning loss being used to pay for radical curricula to indoctrinate students. According to documents obtained by Oversight Committee Republicans, a school district in Massachusetts used COVID relief funds to hire a consultant that coached a high school principal to use a racial slur in front of other faculty members. Ranking Members Comer and Foxx are again calling for all documents, communications, and information related to the use of school pandemic relief funds as well as those related to Massachusetts’ plan to use these funds.

“As the Republican leaders on the Committees on Oversight and Reform and Education and Labor, we are continuing Republicans’ investigation into the misuse of COVID-19 relief dollars intended for virus mitigation, the safe reopening of schools, and addressing catastrophic learning loss. On September 14, 2022, Committee Republicans requested documents and communications from your office to understand better how the Department of Education has allowed states to spend COVID-relief funds, specifically the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. You failed to respond by the September 28, 2022, deadline. Despite your failure to respond, the American people are providing numerous examples of wasteful spending of ESSER funds,” wrote the Republican lawmakers.

Last year, Congressional Democrats unnecessarily rushed more than $120 billion in new Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding. Congress previously set aside $13.2 billion in the CARES Act and $54.3 billion in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act for the ESSER Fund. Reports indicate billions of allocated taxpayer dollars are now being used by State Democrat leaders to push left leaning ideologies in public schools rather than to fix the significant academic gaps caused by school closures. Ranking Members Comer and Foxx wrote to Secretary Cardona on September 14, 2022 requesting information on this misuse of taxpayer dollars, but he failed to respond.

“One particularly bizarre example is from Newburyport, Massachusetts, where the Newburyport Public Schools spent at least $56,800 in ESSER funds to hire a consultant named Michael Eatman. According to documents obtained by Committee on Oversight and Reform Republicans, Mr. Eatman’s services included ‘coaching’ a high school principal to use a racial slur in front of other faculty members. While the use of a racial slur rightfully made some teachers uncomfortable, others, such as an assistant superintendent for curriculum & instruction, stated that its use and the principal’s explanatory e-mail memorializing the incident was the ‘perfect message to your staff.’ Other teachers said the use of the slur in front of faculty members was ‘amazing’ and ‘model[ed] for all of us what courage and vulnerability look[ed] like in action.’ This is not what federal COVID aid was intended for, but according to information obtained by Committee Republicans, taxpayer dollars paid for this session,” continued the Republican lawmakers. “This activity appears to have nothing to do with COVID-19 mitigation. Moreover, under no circumstances should the American people fund the “coaching” of educators to use racial slurs for any purpose and/or at any time. This is both a waste and a misuse of taxpayer dollars.”

The letter to Secretary Cardona can be found here.