President Trump threatens to cut federal funding for schools who do not fully reopen in fall

The Trump administration believes pushing for a nationwide open for in-person classes come fall will be a critical move to just-start the suffering economy.

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President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are threatening to cut off federal funding to schools that do not open their doors this fall due to coronavirus concerns. 

In a recent Tweet he suggests it is a Democrat ploy to hurt him politically by tweeting: “In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families.”

In a conference call with governors across the country, Devos stated: “Risk is involved in everything we do, from learning to ride a bike to riding a rocket into space and everything in between.”

The CDC website states: Schools can determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials to the extent possible, whether and how to implement these considerations while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community. Implementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, acceptable, and tailored to the needs of each community. The more people a student or staff member interacts with, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.

President Trump counters CDC advice tweeting: “I disagree with the @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!”

The Trump administration believes pushing for a nationwide open for in-person classes come fall will be a critical move to just-start the suffering economy. 

According to Truthout, Trump’s complaint over how schools are reopening in Europe fails to take into account the fact that those nations are themselves implementing strong rules for social distancing and other methods for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

It is also important to keep in mind that cases are on the rise in the U.S., unlike many other countries. 

Even though federal officials have limited influence over state and local authorities as to how they will choose to run and reopen their schools, Trump and Devos’ unflinching messages will be big influencers. According to Politico, the federal government controls only about 10 percent of funding for the nation’s schools, which includes tens of billions of dollars for low-income school districts and special education. But their threats could cause unnecessary pressure on schools that maybe should not reopen so quickly. 

“Ultimately it’s not a matter of if schools should reopen. It’s simply a matter of how. They must fully open, and they must be fully operational and how that happens is best left to education and community leaders,” says Devos. 

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