Joe Biden: ‘Students of Color’ Will Suffer if Schools Stay Closed
Biden claimed Trump 'failed to take any action' on school reopening
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is arguing that low-income “students of color” will suffer if schools remain closed.
The former vice president told members of the National Education Association’s (NEA) representative assembly that he saw the coronavirus “challenge” early and called on President Donald Trump to deal with it.
But Biden's message may have fallen on deaf ears as it was the teachers’ union leaders who criticized Trump for pushing to reopen schools.
Biden claimed Trump “failed to take any action” that would get “educators and students back in the classroom."
.@JoeBiden on leading through COVID: "The longer schools are closed and classes are remote, the more students, especially low-income students and students of color, fall behind." #NEARA2020 https://t.co/A1B7d74IFm pic.twitter.com/cjLMPahnHl— NEA (@NEAToday) July 3, 2020
But in May, Trump called on schools throughout the United States to need to be reopened "ASAP," as many remain closes due to health concerns from he coronavirus pandemic.
"Schools in our country should be opened ASAP. Much very good information now available. @SteveHiltonx @FoxNews," Trump wrote at the time.
Biden added the only way to open up schools again was with even more federal funding.
The former vice president accused Trump and Republicans of failing to offer coronavirus aid to state and local governments to guarantee “educators’ salaries were not cut."
.@MEAOnline's Paula McConnell asks @JoeBiden: In the midst of a pandemic, Trump disregards medical experts and is pushing for immediate opening of schools. Unsurprisingly, Secretary DeVos is missing in action...What can you tell educators looking for leadership? #NEARA2020 pic.twitter.com/Ui0FjTifYg— NEA (@NEAToday) July 3, 2020
But many of the states seeking funding are led by Democrats, while Republican senators urged Trump to reject a “blank check” bailout to states already suffering financial difficulties due to overspending before the pandemic hit.
“We’re not interested in borrowing money from future generations to send down to states to help them with bad decisions they made in the past unrelated to the coronavirus epidemic,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in April.
When a Michigan paraprofessional complained that Trump was “disregarding the advice of health experts and pushing for the immediate opening of schools,” Biden responded:
“The longer schools are closed, and classes are remote, the more students, especially low-income students and students of color, fall behind,” he said.
Biden, like Trump, called for schools, must reopen but added he would deliver funding to accomplish that goal.
American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten urged members to “scream bloody murder” if schools reopen against medical expert's advice.
Weingarten later said she did not agree with Trump's call to reopen schools as soon as possible.
Weingarten said that “all bets are off” for reopening schools if there is a second wave of coronavirus infections during the summer.
Biden later admitted remote learning would likely still be part of the reopening plan for schools.
"The American economy cannot recover if schools can't reopen, and we cannot properly reopen schools if funding is slashed and students don't have what they need to be safe, learn and succeed." - NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcíahttps://t.co/HWxzERbsVt— NEA (@NEAToday) July 6, 2020
Weingarten agreed with Biden's call for more funding to open “safely and responsibly.”
“It’s going to cost more money than we’re spending now,” she said.