July 9, 2020 9:34 pm

NPE’s Position Statement on School Reopening

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The Network for Public Education opposes the Trump Administration’s dangerous and reckless proposal to reopen schools without regard to safety or resources. If the pandemic has taught American parents and school children anything, it is the value of in-person education led by professional educators. We all want the schools to reopen for in-person instruction as soon as possible, but we must protect the health and well-being of children, educators, and other school staff.

We oppose the Trump Administration’s threat to cut federal funding to districts that refuse to bow to their demands. We insist that Congress and Governors provide the funding needed by schools to bring children and staff back safely. No school should open in an area where the virus is surging or there are high levels of transmission. Plans must be flexible, guided by science, not politics, and include alternatives for high-risk children and staff. The decision to open physically must be made locally depending on the extent of viral spread, and districts’ preparedness to provide safe conditions.

We condemn the reckless call by Trump and DeVos to reopen all schools without regard to safety, which undermines serious and responsible efforts to meet the needs of children and staff this fall.

We applaud the CDC for not bending to political pressure from the White House to weaken its guidelines for the safe reopening of schools.

The Administration’s position is a thinly veiled plan to demonize teachers and local school boards as disloyal Americans while demanding that districts ignore the safety of students and school staff.

We strongly oppose the outrageous Trump-DeVos proposal to transfer public school funds away from schools that do not physically open and move those federal funds to private, religious, online, and for-profit schools that are open. This is a transparent and cynical move to use the pandemic to voucherize school funding and destroy public education.