If you think that President Trump and Vice-President Pence have led a successful fight against the COVID-19 pandemic here in the US, then we are already in disagreement.
If you think that Betsy DeVos has been a Secretary of Education who has had the best interest of public schools at the forefront of her actions, then you are in a vast minority.
If you think that Senator Phil Berger has been a champion of public schools here in North Carolina, then you just haven’t been paying attention.
Many of our leaders like Trump, Berger, and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest have pushed for reopening the economy without much of a plan except that they are abiding by what John Cole eloquently expressed in one of his latest political cartoons.
What that push for reopening has really done is expose the fact that there has been this perfect storm of lack of resources, disdain for science, and ill-regard for public health. And it’s brought us this:
If each of the states in this country was classified as a country based on population and cases of COVID-19, 15 of the top 25 countries would be US states.
North Carolina made that list. We would have been much higher if our governor had not used his executive orders to put in restrictions that Dan Forest is suing him over.
So, the people who have shown that they do not regard science, data, and public health because of ego and electioneering now want to reopen our schools without any real plan for safety and commitment for resources except through threats and empty words.
Here’s Exhibit A:
That’s from the AP as printed in today’s Winston-Salem Journal. It starts with this:
Determined to reopen America’s schools despite coronavirus worries, President Donald Trump threatened on Wednesday to hold back federal money if school districts don’t bring students back in the fall. He complained that his own public health officials’ safety guidelines are impractical and too expensive.
Shortly afterward, Vice President Mike Pence announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would issue new guidance next week “that will give all new tools to our schools.” The recommendations will keep students safe, he said, but “the president said today we just don’t want the guidance to be too tough. ”
That’s literally holding public schools hostage with funding and at the same time telling his own health officials to loosen guidelines so that schools will be in “compliance.”
Dana Goldstein is a New York Times correspondent and wrote The Teacher Wars, a great book on the history of the teaching profession.
And DeVos was right on board with her boss. Just click on the video in the next Twitter link on the show of a man who has literally lost most of his major sponsors because of racist commentary.
And Mike Pence has been no voice of reason. Nor has he been a champion for public education himself. As governor of Indiana, he did as much to privatize public education as Phil Berger has here in NC. Just listen to him ramble in this video.
And of course, there’s Phil Berger trumpeting Trump.
But Berger has not threatened to withhold funding.
He’s made sure that it wasn’t fully there in the first place.