Teachers strongly denounce Trump’s plan to force schools to reopen

The plan to force schools to reopen in the fall has been met with sharp criticism by the largest teachers union in the US. The push to reopen comes amidst rising cases of coronavirus in the country.

Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, has expressed fears over accelerated plans to reopen schools by the Trump Administration, citing that it will lead to the spreading of the virus and put teachers in danger of contracting the virus. Weingarten also termed the efforts of reopening schools in the fall reckless, callous and cruel and could result in many teachers leaving the profession.

Re-election angle

With barely four months to elections, the debate on whether to reopen schools in the fall has become a partisan issue in the US, with President Trump pushing hard to see the schools are reopened in the fall. With just weeks to go, resistance to reopening schools has also grown with Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, slamming the push by the White House of reopening schools.

In an interview with the Guardian, Weingarten narrated how she felt uncomfortable as she watched Betsy Devos, the Educaiton Secretary, in the press urging schools to fully reopen, emphasizing on the need for in-person class attendance. She said Betsy’s speech was reckless and made her wonder if Devos and Trump were creating chaos to make it even harder for schools to reopen properly.

Efforts to force schools to reopen

With the fall fast approaching, measures to force schools to reopen are in full gear, with President Trump stating that he was willing to cut the funding for schools district and states which will not reopen. Although legal experts have expressed doubt that the president will be able to cut the funding of the schools, the Republicans are already crafting bills that will attach conditions to schools fundings such as forcing schools to reopen in order to be eligible for funding in the next coronavirus relief package.

Plan to reopen schools online has also been met with opposition from the Trump administration, which just a few weeks ago, through Immigration and Customs Enforcement, came up with a policy that threatened foreign students from universities that planned on reopening online classes only, that they would be deported. The policy, which has since been struck down, showed a concerted effort to force schools to reopen in the fall.


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