Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

Policy & Politics

Biden’s Call for School Reopening Relies on Cooperation from Congress, a Divided Public

By Evie Blad — December 11, 2020 2 min read
President-elect Joe Biden.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

President-elect Joe Biden has sharpened his calls to reopen schools since the election, but he will still have to overcome big barriers to contain the coronavirus and bring children back to classrooms.
“If Congress provides the funding we need to protect students, educators, and staff, and if states and cities put strong public health measures in place that we all follow, then my team will work to see that the majority of our schools can be open by the end of my first 100 days,” Biden said Dec. 8.
Those are some pretty big Ifs.
Some epidemiologists have said schools that have remained in remote learning this school year should be more aggressive about reopening. But as some major cities have plotted strategies to bring students back, virus rates have spiked around the country, complicating their efforts.
Biden spoke days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued strongly worded guidance urging state and local governments to step up efforts to slow the spread of the virus. Despite concerns about record high cases in some areas, the CDC cautioned that K-12 schools “should be the last settings to close after all other mitigation measures have been employed and the first to reopen when they can do so safely.”
As Education Week reported recently, the success of state and local efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus rely on cooperation from a divided and sometimes resistant public.

See Also

President-elect Joe Biden puts on his face mask at a November event in Wilmington, Del.  Biden has promised clear guidance for schools about responding to COVID-19, but he will face political divisions in addressing the issue.
President-elect Joe Biden puts on his face mask at a November event in Wilmington, Del. Biden has promised clear guidance for schools about responding to COVID-19, but he will face political divisions in addressing the issue.
Carolyn Kaster/AP
Federal What Educators Need to Hear From Biden on COVID-19
Evie Blad, December 3, 2020
10 min read

That division, and a perceived lack of credibility for federal efforts, have been exacerbated by inconsistent and sometimes contradictory messaging strategy.
We talked to epidemiologists and crisis messaging experts about what it will take to regain frayed public trust, and they emphasized that many Americans have pretty firm mindsets about risk and prevention that may be difficult to change.

Calls for More COVID-19 Relief Funding

Biden’s recent statements were a more direct version of his language on the campaign trail: He wants schools open, but he believes many of them need more funding to get there.
Securing that funding may be difficult, though. Recent efforts to negotiate a compromise relief package have stagnated as party leaders disagree over provisions like liability protections for schools and businesses and aid to state and local governments. It’s unclear if any other attempts will succeed before Biden’s inauguration, and control of the Senate rests on a pair of January runoff elections in Georgia.
State education leaders have also disagreed with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos about whether they’ve left education funds from the CARES Act, a previous relief bill, “sitting in the bank.”
Biden’s pledge to get most schools open in the first 100 days of his presidency might not be a hopeful thing for families in some parts of the country.
One hundred days after inauguration day is April 30, and the school year is set to end in early or midMay in some areas.

Related Tags:

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
Future-Proofing Your School's Tech Ecosystem: Strategies for Asset Tracking, Sustainability, and Budget Optimization
Gain actionable insights into effective asset management, budget optimization, and sustainable IT practices.
Content provided by Follett Learning
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning
Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Choice & Charters Opinion Does School Choice 'Work'?
Ultimately, the “how” of educational choice may matter more than the “what.”
10 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Law & Courts Supreme Court Turns Down Case Challenging School District's Transgender Policies
The case involves a policy allowing information to be withheld from parents considered not supportive of a gender-transitioning child.
3 min read
This Oct. 4, 2018, photo shows the U.S. Supreme Court at sunset in Washington. The Supreme Court has declined to take up an appeal from parents in Oregon who want to prevent transgender students from using locker rooms and bathrooms of the gender with which they identify, rather than their sex assigned at birth.
This Oct. 4, 2018, photo shows the U.S. Supreme Court at sunset in Washington. The court has declined to take up an appeal from parents in Maryland challenging a school district's policy on gender-support plans for students.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
School Choice & Charters Opinion 'Control Freaks' Are 'Losing Their Grip' on Education
"School choice evangelist" says new laws are a response to unions, bureaucracies, and K-12 ideologues.
12 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Law & Courts District Can Deny Opt-Outs on LGBTQ+ Books, Court Rules
Religious parents objected to a Maryland district's policy ending opt-outs for elementary school 'storybooks' with LGBTQ+ themes.
5 min read
A pedestrian passes by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Courthouse, June 16, 2021, on Main Street in Richmond, Va.
A person walks near the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit's courthouse in Richmond, Va. A panel of the court denied an injunction seeking to restore religious parents' opportunity to opt their children out of LGBTQ+ "storybooks" in a Maryland district.
Steve Helber/AP