President Donald Trump threatens to slash funding if schools do not reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, based on his tweet on Wednesday.
His tweet is considered the latest effort of the administration to convince public schools to resume in-person classes this fall.
Trump warns them about the risks posed by not reopening. However, much of funding in schools comes from states and municipalities, and not from the federal government. Still, the US government appears to be findings ways to use the next coronavirus relief bill in terms of pushing for the reopening of schools
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence affirmed that the White House is looking at using the Phase 4 coronavirus relief bill as tool to impose leverage over schools. “As we work with Congress on the next round of state support, we’re going to be looking for ways to give states a strong incentive and encouragement to get kids back in school,” said Pence.
After Trump’s initial tweet about slashing school funding, he went on slamming his own administration’s health guidelines for reopening schools. He describes them as tough, costly, and impractical.
Pence noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
will “be issuing five new documents.” These documents cover new guidelines on how communities can prepare for school reopenings, “decision making tools for parents and caregivers,” and “symptom screening considerations” for students and teachers.
“As the president said today, we just don’t want the guidance to be too tough,” Pence told reporters. “That’s why the CDC will be issuing more guidance going forward, because we know each school system has unique capabilities and different facilities.”
is deemed an instrument in helping the American economy recover from job losses and other damages brought by the coronavirus outbreak.
There are over 50 million students in the US, and the closure of schools and daycare centers in March and April forced parents to teach and do their jobs at the same time.
However, as coronavirus cases continue to multiply in the US, parents and educators are worried about making in-person school safe enough for children and teachers.
Response to Trump’s threat
Governors and educators slammed the Trump’s threat to cut school funding and his subsequent attack on the CDC. They emphasize the need for more federal funds if schools must reopen in the fall.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo disregarded the idea that Trump can legally require schools, which are managed at the state and local level, to reopen.
“This has been there, done that. School reopenings are state decisions. Period,” Cuomo said at a press conference. “That is the law. That is the way we’re going to proceed. It’s not up to the president of the United States.”
“We can’t reopen the economy without reopening schools, and we can’t reopen schools without the resources to do so safely,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, which sponsored the ad campaign.
“Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos demanding schools reopen but failing to produce a plan or the resources required is not doing what kids and educators need,” Weingarten said.
Meanwhile, many legislators are calling for additional funds for schools in the next coronavirus relief bill.
“The surest step back to normalcy in our country is when 70-75 million college and high school and elementary school students go back to school,” Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the Republican chairman of the Senate committee that oversees education, said in a late June appearance on CNBC. “If we need more money for that, I’m for that.”