Late this past week, President Trump signaled a bit of a reversal of his hard-lined stance on all schools reopening.
But there’s always a catch. Or ten. In fact, this is really not a reversal in Trump’s stance.
“Public schools should delay reopening in coronavirus… “
This report from NPR highlights many specific issues surrounding school buildings reopening.
1. It isn’t about schools reopening; it’s about school buildings reopening.
Even the report says it: “As of Thursday, according to Education Week, nine of the 15 largest school districts in the country plan to start the year remote-only.” Starting is opening.
2. Trump is keeping money from those schools that do not reopen buildings.
Let’s finish that quote from the NPR report aboe that was previously eneded with an ellipsis.
“Public schools should delay reopening in coronavirus hot spots but should open fully if they want to receive tens of billions of dollars in new federal aid, President Trump said in a White House briefing.“
There is that “if they want to receive tens of billions of dollars” caveat.
Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial divide that has widened with recent events has him trying to pivot his reelection on manufactured victories. Right now that seems to be the economy. He knows that for the economy to “open” up, schools need to have their buildings open.
3. Teachers are essential.
He said it.
“Teachers are essential workers,” Trump said. “But every district should be actively making preparations to reopen.”
Then why not provide more funding and resources to school systems that are starting remotely to maybe look at ways to open buildings safely?
And Trump seems to be in the minority as far as reopening school buildings. A very small, but vocal minority.
4. Trump is pushing a school choice agenda even more that diverts funds from public schools to private entities.
This has always been part of his agenda, but he is becoming very vocal about it. In fact, it’s becoming a foundational part of his reelection platform.
He said the White House was recommending that the Senate include $105 billion for schools in the coronavirus aid package currently being debated to support smaller class sizes and more teachers — but only if schools reopen in person. If not, he said, the money should go directly to parents to pay for private schools or home schooling. He specifically mentioned religious schools.
“If the school is closed, the money should follow the student,” he said.
5. Betsy DeVos still is a terrible Secretary of Education.
In fact, she’s worse now than she was just a couple of months ago.
“Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been a strong advocate for alternatives to public schools. She’s being sued by several state attorneys general, school districts and the NAACP for what they allege is illegally siphoning money from the initial coronavirus aid package toward private schools.”
That’s right. The NAACP is suing her as well.
6. Trump never defines what a “coronavirus hot spot” really is.
It took over 140,000 deaths from COVID-19 and around 4 million known US cases for Trump to even tout wearing a mask.