The current state of limbo in America is becoming more and more problematic as we inch closer to another school year. With quarantine restrictions varying state to state and county to county, parents are struggling to figure out what exactly they’ll be paying for when it comes to college, and how exactly they’ll care for kids on a part-time education schedule when it comes to K-12 schools.
In short, it’s chaos. In some districts parents are left questioning the sanity of decisions to return to a 50/50 schooling schedule (2.5 days at school, 2.5 days at home for online learning) when the risk of COVID spread and infection among children has been proven to be almost negligible. Rand Paul outlined as much when he questioned Anthony Fauci at a recent hearing on COVID related issues.
“Take for example government experts who continue to call for schools and day care to stay closed or that recommend restrictions that make it impossible for a school to function. There are examples from all across the United States and around the world that show that young children rarely spread the virus,” he asserted, pointing to countries that have reopened, including Denmark, France and Germany.
“No spike when schools are opened. Central planners have enough knowledge somehow to tell a nation of some 330 million people what they can and can’t do.”
The Trump administration, having made a major blunder by encouraging a national lockdown early on, is now left scurrying to put the pieces back together in time for election day. Trump himself has been quite adamant in demanding states open their economies and put people back to worth. He is aggressively pushing a return to normal but the executive branch only holds so much authority over the states.
One tool that remains of use to the executive branch is funding. The American public education system has become overwhelmingly dependent on federal dollars. Now comes word Trump may shift the dispensation of federal funds to school districts who don’t fully open their campuses to desperate parents and students in the fall. Education Secretary Betsy Devos told Fox News in an interview that the Department of Education is considering dispensing education funds directly to families instead of funneling them to schools.
From Reuters (and I do love how they put scare quotes around school choice):
“If schools aren’t going to reopen, we’re not suggesting pulling funding from education but instead allowing families … (to) take that money and figure out where their kids can get educated if their schools are going to refuse to open,” Betsy DeVos told Fox News in an interview.
DeVos, a proponent of private and religious education who has long pushed “school choice,” gave no details on the administration’s plan.
As a parent who is facing a 50/50 school schedule for her own child, I would be thrilled to see such a thing happen. It could be a game changer come election day. Whether or not the administration actually has the willpower to do this is quite another thing altogether.