Home > Uncategorized > President Trump Wants to Open Schools at No Cost to Taxpayers but at the Cost of Hundreds if not Thousands of Lives

President Trump Wants to Open Schools at No Cost to Taxpayers but at the Cost of Hundreds if not Thousands of Lives

July 9, 2020

Countless articles yesterday and this morning described President Trump’s reckless insistence that public schools open so that the economy can get back on track and— most importantly to him— that his party remain in power. Common Dreams Jake Johnson offered some direct quotes on the issue from the President and Betsy DeVos:

“We’re going to be putting a lot of pressure on: Open your schools in the fall,” Trump said after accusing local officials of keeping schools closed “for political reasons.”

DeVos, a billionaire advocate of school privatization, echoed Trump. “Under the president’s strong leadership, our economy is roaring back,”DeVos said. “Our schools must do the same.”

Trump and DeVos both applauded Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis for ordering public schools to reopen for in-person classes at least five days per week beginning in August despite surging Covid-19 cases in the state.

Look at the messages in these three paragraphs.

First we have the POTUS who, after willfully ignoring the advice of the CDC and seeking a rewrite of their medical advice, now claims that schools who wanted to use the CDC’s medical advice as the basis for reopening are now being accused of “…keeping schools closed “for political reasons. 

Then we have Betsy DeVos’ statement which frames the purpose of reopening schools as one of improving the country’s economy making no mention of the health perils children face.

Finally, we have both the POTUS and Ms. DeVos praising GOP Governor DeSantis’ completely misguided decision to reopen his schools after he adjust reversed his earlier decision to reopen the economy because there was a spike in the coronavirus as a result.

Unfortunately Mr. Johnson’s entire article is framed as one pitting the NEA against the POTUS, a framing that downplays the fact that the NEA’s statement in opposition to Mr. Trump’s reckless actions regarding schools is also endorsed by the National PTA and the National Principals Association. I’m sure if she made two more phone calls she could have gotten the American Association of School Administrators and National School Boards Association to sign off on the statement as well. Here’s are the key sections from the one page joint statement:

…Without a comprehensive plan that includes federal resources to provide for the safety of our students and educators with funding for Personal Protective Equipment, socially distanced instruction, and addressing racial inequity, we could be putting students, their families, and educators in danger.

Throughout this pandemic, the administration has failed to address the needs of students, especially those students who need the most support. They have failed to listen to families and public school educators who have been on the frontlines serving their communities. This vacuum of leadership leaves this administration with zero credibility in the minds of educators and parents when it comes to this major decision. To safely re-open our schools, health experts should be relied on to figure out the “when” and educators and parents should be central to figuring out the “how.” Public school educators, students and parents must have a voice in critical conversations and decisions on reopening schools.  The president should not be brazenly making these decisions.

This is NOT a “union vs. taxpayers” debate… this is a health vs. business debate… and if we choose reopening over health the virus will spread. The result might be a short term rebound in the economic figures, but the cost of that rebound will be pain and suffering for those who get the disease and those who care for those afflicted. As I remain in self-quarantine I am casting my vote for avoiding the spread of Covid-19.

%d bloggers like this: