Public education champions are denouncing President Donald Trump\u0026#039;s new\u0026nbsp;executive order\u0026nbsp;that enables states to use funds from a federal block grant program to provide vouchers to qualifying households to offset some of the costs of private school tuition, homeschooling, or other educational expenses during the coronavirus pandemic, even as critics say the move is more of a symbolic endorsement of school privatization than a serious attempt to subsidize in-person learning.Trump\u0026#039;s executive order, which he signed on Monday, empowers the secretary of health and human services to \u0022allow funds available through the Community Services Block Grant program to be used by grantees and eligible entities to\u0026nbsp;provide emergency learning scholarships to disadvantaged families for use by any child without access to in-person learning.\u0022As Politico reported Monday night, Trump\u0026#039;s move comes after school choice provisions sought by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Republican lawmakers were excluded from the coronavirus relief bill the president signed on Sunday.The White House spun the executive order as an attempt to provide more flexibility to parents amid what Trump called \u0022the public education system\u0026#039;s failure to provide in-person learning options.\u0022 Trump neglected to mention, however, that his administration has failed to create the conditions for a safe reopening of public schools.Rather than attacking public schools while pushing for privatized alternatives—as critics say the Trump administration has done—President-elect Joe Biden \u0022has vowed to reopen most schools in the first 100 days of his administration by providing more funding for school districts to implement coronavirus safety measures, such as better ventilation and more socially distanced classrooms,\u0022 Politico reported. \u0022His team is also\u0026nbsp;weighing a multibillion dollar plan\u0026nbsp;to test students, teachers, and staff at least once a week.\u0022In a blog post Tuesday, education scholar and public schools advocate Diane Ravitch cautioned that Trump\u0026#039;s executive order reeks of elites using a crisis to advance an unpopular right-wing agenda, a phenomenon that journalist Naomi Klein has dubbed \u0022disaster capitalism.\u0022Trump\u0026#039;s executive order declares that \u0022the emergency conditions created by Covid-19 make it vital to use federal funds for vouchers,\u0022 Ravitch wrote, adding that DeVos \u0022will use her last days in office to throw money out the door to fund vouchers for private and religious schools.\u0022Education Week\u0026nbsp;reporter Andrew Ujifusa, however, said Monday that he would \u0022pump the brakes before assuming this executive order delivers a major (or any) K-12 choice boost.\u0022 As Ujifusa put it, \u0022The\u0026nbsp;Trump administration tried but failed to get a school choice expansion into the Covid relief package.\u0022Noting that he is unsure whether \u0022Trump can do this through an executive order\u0022 because the Community Services Block Grant program \u0022doesn\u0026#039;t provide direct grants to individuals,\u0022 Ujifusa called the president\u0026#039;s move a \u0022last-ditch gesture.\u0022Ujifusa\u0026#039;s assessment of Trump\u0026#039;s executive order, which the reporter considers largely toothless, was shared by Derek Black, an education and constitutional law professor at the University of South Carolina.Black, who specializes in educational equity and school funding for disadvantaged students, said Monday that Trump\u0026#039;s effort to divert \u0022block grant money for private school vouchers\u0022 is an \u0022apparent last-ditch effort to claim victory in DeVos\u0026#039; war on public education.\u0022Another critic of Trump\u0026#039;s executive order was Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), who observed\u0026nbsp;Monday that\u0026nbsp;the measure is \u0022only for private schools.\u0022 Pointing out that \u002290% of parents send their kids to public schools,\u0022 Weingarten posed a series of critical questions: \u0022Why does the Republican Party only want to help parents who send kids to private schools? Why not help with this kind of community grant for all parents? Why not open up more funding for them?\u0022Weingarten noted that when federal funds in the Community Services Block Grant program, which has an annual budget of roughly $700 million, were aimed at combating poverty, Trump was opposed to assisting low-income Americans, opting instead for massive cuts to discretionary spending.Now, less than a month before leaving office, the president wants to use public money \u0022to help kids get to private school,\u0022 Weingarten said. \u0022Why not just help any poor kids use [subsidies] for connectivity [and] for tutoring?\u0022 she asked, suggesting that federal block grants could be used to supplement the funding allocated to public schools in the coronavirus aid package.\u0022Trump fought against funding for public education for months, then does this as he begrudgingly signs [the] Covid relief bill,\u0022 Weingarten concluded.Calling Trump\u0026#039;s move the \u0022last gasp [of the] privatization agenda\u0022 pushed by the president and DeVos, Leonie Haimson—executive director of Class Size Matters and board member of the Network for Public Education—said\u0026nbsp;Tuesday that\u0026nbsp;the executive order \u0022could be immediately reversed\u0022 next month by Biden.