Since last week, Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have issued federal funding threats to schools that don’t fully reopen in the fall. On Wednesday, Trump pressured the government’s top health experts to loosen safety recommendations for how the nation’s schools could reopen safely.
Trump also threatened to pull tax-exempt status for schools and colleges. This comes after Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a new guidance that forces international students to transfer schools or leave the U.S. if their colleges plan to hold instruction entirely online.
Rep. Bobby Scott, (D-Va.), the chair of the House education committee, said that Trump’s push to “prematurely reopen” schools ignored the health experts and was “dangerous.”
“Even before the pandemic, our nation’s public schools were chronically underfunded,” Scott said. “Reopening schools now, without more investment, presents serious risks to the health and safety of our students and educators.”
Evan Hollander, spokesperson for Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement that Trump “has no authority to cut off funding for these students, and threatening to do so to prop up his flailing campaign is offensive.”
Trump’s strong-arm approach to reopening schools have been met with opposition from not only Democrats, but several Republican-aligned organizations, christian colleges, Republican state school chiefs, and even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
According to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll, 67 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump’s coronavirus response.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, and prior to, educators have expressed the need for more school funding to address unmet needs of their students, lack of materials in the classroom, and expand learning options to close disparities.
Education should not be a political issue. Students and teachers should not be put in harm’s way for Trump’s re-election campaign. Schools are in need of unprecedented federal support for resources, not cuts in funding.
Bottom Line: Trump’s political priorities are only for re-election and not for the health and well-being of our nation. Protecting our students, teachers or anyone should not be “impractical”, but the right thing to do.