White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre gave Democrats and President Joe Biden credit for the re-opening of schools in 2021, instead of recognizing the role their politics played in limiting children’s ability to learn.
Regarding a report from the New York Times showing the decline in test scores, a reporter asked:
“The National Assessment of educational progress has this new testing that shows that 9-year-olds lost ground in both math and reading in pretty dramatic ways as a result of the pandemic. What is the president going to do about it, what is the administration going to do about this severe learning loss, and does the administration shoulder any blame for not pushing schools to reopen sooner?”
“So, let’s step back to where we were not too long ago to when this president walked into this administration, how mismanaged the pandemic the response of the pandemic was. How 47 percent of schools were in less than six months our schools went from 46 percent to open to nearly all of them being open to full-time. That was work of this president, and that was the work of this president and Democrats in spite of Republicans not voting for the American Rescue Plan.”
Jean-Pierre blames the "mismanagement of the Trump administration" for schools not opening sooner and says that "nearly all schools opened in less than 6 months [after Biden took office]. That was the work of this president and Democrats in spite of Republicans." pic.twitter.com/YHqYFNJPLk
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) September 1, 2022
Jean-Pierre went on to tie the education spending in the American Rescue Plan to the progress made toward reopening schools.
However, Americans should be getting whiplash from the heavy spin from the press secretary.
Democrats, particularly in large cities, either pushed to keep schools closed or fought with liberal teachers’ unions for conditions of reopening. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic saw more deaths in 2021 than 2020, the Biden administration still wants to pretend they are responsible for saving the United States from doom.
Data from EdWeek on 2020-21 laid out the statewide differences in the approach to returning to learning at the time. While many states left things to the local governments and school districts, it’s clear that blue states imposed more restrictions, generally speaking, than their conservative counterparts.
Learning loss goes beyond politics, and the White House cannot spin its way out of the concerning consequences that it will have on the next generation of Americans.