President Joe Biden promised that schools would open for grades K-8 within his first 100 days in office. He’s also proposed at least $175 billion to do it, the same amount demanded by Biden top donor and the nation’s largest union, the National Education Association.
Biden coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, who previously has not been able to clarify if he thinks schools should open, now backs Biden’s massive spending plan, but still confusingly says school reopening may not happen after all.
On Thursday, Fauci told both the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s second-largest teachers union, that “The president is taking very seriously the issue, both from the students’ standpoint and from the teachers’ standpoint… [Biden] believes that the [K-8] schools need to reopen in the next 100 days… That’s the goal. That may not happen, because there may be mitigating circumstances, but what he really wants to do is everything within his power to help get to that.”
Those mitigating circumstances are undoubtedly the $175 billion teachers unions have demanded while holding millions of American children hostage to substandard online and partially online education as their futures degrade by the week. Unions across the country staunchly refused teachers returning to work like other front-line workers unless they get vast amounts of additional spending. PPE and additional staff for smaller, more socially distanced classes are only a few of the things on their demand list to the compliant Biden Harris administration.
At this point, it’s pretty difficult for parents to know what to expect from Fauci, who has repeatedly reversed himself on COVID policies, increasing national instability amid a chaotic time rather than using his position to provide deeply needed clear expectations. Only a few months ago, Fauci was telegraphing optimism about schools opening this past fall, which didn’t happen for the approximately three-quarters of American kids who are either in full-time or part-time online instruction.
In April, Fauci said, “I fully expect — though I’m humble enough that I can’t accurately predict — that by the time we get to the fall that we will have this under control enough, that it certainly will not be the way it is now — where people are shutting schools.” He went on to say that his “optimistic side tells me we will be able to renew.”
Barely a month later, testifying before Congress, Fauci telegraphed the opposite of this earlier optimism: “We’ll just have to see on a step-by-step basis. We have a very large country, and the dynamics of the outbreak are different in different regions of the country, so I would imagine that situations regarding school will be very different in one region versus another.”
By that time, it was becoming clear that the virus was much less of a threat to children than to any other demographic. A study had emerged from Sweden showing that children were far less likely either to contract or spread the illness.
Yet Fauci said there was an uncertainty about COVID’s effects on children. To date, fewer than 100 elementary school-aged children have died from this illness, and fewer than 600 aged 14 to 24. That is a threat level easily comparable to the seasonal flu for these ages, and myriad Western peer nations have opened their schools in acknowledgement of the supporting science, yet U.S. public schools are still acting as if they might be death traps for children and staff. “We don’t know everything about this virus, and we really better be very careful, particularly when it comes to children,” Fauci told Congress.
In June, Fauci had again changed tune, telling CNN that “In some situations, there will be no problem for children to go back to school. In others, you may need to do some modifications. You know, modifications could be breaking up the class so you don’t have a crowded classroom, maybe half in the morning, half in the afternoon, having children doing alternate schedules. There’s a whole bunch of things that one can do.”
Clear as mud. He didn’t say anything here about building retrofits and ventilation systems, a big ask of the NEA.
By July, Fauci’s plan was to leave decisions up to localities. Speaking this time at a virtual event at Georgetown University, Fauci said, “We should try, as the default, to get the kids to stay in school.” There was no mention here of vast sums of money needing to go from federal debt to these local districts.
“If you’re in the part of a country where the dynamics of the outbreak are really minimal, if at all, then there’s no problem at all in getting back. If you’re in a situation where you’re in outbreak mode, then you leave it up to the local individuals,” he said.
Fauci’s new idea in August was that schools should do class outside. This time he made his claims during a Facebook Live chat with Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, and he said bars should close and schools should open, as though this were an either/or scenario.
“If you want to open schools, do what you need to do,” Fauci said. “Close the bars. Wear your masks. Because when you do that, you will bring the infections down.” Simple, easy, cheap.
Now he’s touting a plan that will cost taxpayers billions—on top of the billions already spent on education this year that has led to failing grades, a massive departure of students from public education systems, and an intense decline in learning.
These new funds that Fauci advocates for are not just for pandemic mitigation, such as testing and personal protective equipment. The executive order Biden signed stated the “two principles” that should be at the core of the federal response in schools are the “health and safety of children, students, educators, families, and communities is paramount.” It also said “every student in the United States should have the opportunity to receive a high-quality education, during and beyond the pandemic.”
After listing those pandemic-related health measures, the EO states the goal is to both “mitigate learning loss caused by the pandemic; and address educational disparities and inequities that the pandemic has created and exacerbated.” The EO, coming in at about 1,200 words, doesn’t give any details on what that means, instead leaving it to advisors.
What’s clear is certainly not Fauci. It’s that greedy teachers unions are blocking school reopenings for selfish gain, and that the Biden administration is doing whatever they want because they are major campaign donors, all at the expense of American children’s best interests and the nation’s future.