Monday, July 13, 2020

DeVos provides few details on Trump administration push to reopen schools in the fall

School districts are grappling with how or whether to reopen schools in the fall, and though the Trump administration has called for reopening, it hasn't said how to accomplish that. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos sat for interviews Sunday on CNN and Fox News, but offered little clarity on the matter.

"Pressed on how schools in areas with high rates of the coronavirus should protect children and communities, she provided few details," Evie Blad reports for Education Week. "Also unclear: the details of repeated threats made by DeVos and President Donald Trump to withhold federal funds from schools that don't reopen, and exactly what a satisfactory school reopening would look like."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that schools limit bus riders, ensure that students wear masks, and space desks six feet apart, but DeVos stressed to CNN's Dana Bash that those are only recommendations, that no two schools are the same, and said that education leaders are smart enough to figure out how to tailor CDC prevention and outbreak-containment guidelines to each individual school, Blad reports.

"Pressed by Fox's Chris Wallace on why the administration would threaten schools' funding during the pandemic, DeVos reiterated previous statements that seemed to allude to a push for a private school choice option," Blad reports. DeVos, who has been a strong proponent of private education, told Wallace: "American investment is a promise to students and their families . . . If schools aren't going to reopen and fulfill that promise, they shouldn't get the funds. Then give it to the families to decide to go to a school that is going to meet that promise."

Wallace pointed out that DeVos didn't have the authority to redirect federal funds authorized by Congress; DeVos said she is considering "all options," Blad reports.

No comments: