Joe Biden has been moving the goalposts on reopening schools for weeks as his position changes every time the teacher’s union changes. He first claimed that the schools would reopen within 100 days of him taking office. Then he said he was only referring to elementary and middle schools. Then he said the schools would be considered “open” if there were in-person classes one day a week.
Now Biden has given up the responsibility entirely and passed the buck to the Centers for Disease Control. He says he will defer to science experts on how to achieve the goal of fully reopening schools to classroom instruction.
“I can assure any parent listening that his objective, his commitment, is to ensuring schools are open five days a week,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing. “That’s what he wants to achieve, and we are going to lead with science and the advice they are giving us.”
The “science”? Here’s how Psaki danced around the problem.
"One of the challenges we have is that the data is not great as it relates to schools that are open or not open, how hybrid learning is impacting kids," press sec. Psaki tells @maryaliceparks.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 11, 2021
The “data is not great as it relates” to schools that “are open or not open”? Who is she trying to kid? What data would there be on schools that weren’t open?
Republicans say Biden is backpedaling on his pledge and caving to teachers unions that have opposed reopening until their demands are met. Biden’s critics say schools are safe to open now, citing CDC findings that, with the right precautions, it’s generally safe to hold classes in-person.
Asked why parents should be satisfied with just one day of in-person teaching per week, Psaki appeared to back away from her previous stance. “They shouldn’t be. I wouldn’t be, as a parent,” she said.
It should be dawning on most people that this is an administration totally and completely beholden to interest groups. And teachers lead the way.
Biden’s “goal” has no basis in science or basic common sense. Study after study has shown in-person learning can take place safely with next to no transmission of the virus. Biden’s own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director said vaccination does not need to be a prerequisite for teachers to get back in classrooms. But instead of heeding CDC Director Rochelle Walensky’s guidance, which is what he promised to do, Biden’s White House dismissed her entirely and said she was just speaking in her “personal capacity.”
Personal capacity or not, facts are facts — unless, of course, those facts upset one of your major political donors. In that case, one day of in-person school per week will have to do.
The teachers gave $43.7 million to political campaigns in 2020, 98 percent of it to Democrats. They are an integral part of any Democratic campaign, volunteering in droves to do a lot of the leg work.
They gave their heart and soul to elect Joe Biden president. Now they want a return on their investment.
And Biden is delivering.
Biden seems to think placating the teachers unions will help him convince them to get back to work. He’s even tried to throw in an additional $130 billion in funding. But Biden is discovering what city officials and parents have spent the past year learning the hard way: The unions do only what the unions want to do.
Voters have notoriously short memories and today’s controversies might be fodder for campaign ads in 2022 and 2024 and are otherwise forgotten. But when it comes to their children, parents don’t forget. This is an issue that will come back to bite Democrats in 2022-24.