Back in December, President Biden made a promise to American families. He committed to reopening the majority of schools by the end of his first 100 days in office. In the weeks that followed, his administration continued to move the goalposts to accommodate political posturing instead of children’s educational needs. The reality behind the admin’s arbitrary “goal” is that there are still 16 million children who are not attending school full time, including nearly two million who have gone a full year without stepping foot in a classroom.
It will be years before we have a full understanding of the ramifications yearlong school closures have had on students. In the short-term we know that families have suffered. Children were forced to learn in isolation from behind a screen, a reality that caused a dramatic increase in mental illness and significant learning loss, including three million children in America who “stopped going to classes, virtual or in person, after the pandemic began.” Livelihoods were also impacted when parents were forced to leave their jobs to accommodate the reality of school closures.
President Biden has failed every one of these families. With the authority of the Oval Office and the Department of Education, he should be doing more—much more—to open schools and help students get back in the classroom. And if there was any doubt on whose side Biden was on, it became clear this week when emails showed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention corresponded with the nation’s largest teachers union before releasing anticipated guidance on reopening schools.
How many kids were kept from school because the Biden administration allowed the “science” to be manipulated by special interest groups? How many parents were forced to pass up on income for their families because the CDC failed to follow the science?
The families who have been waiting for months for their children to return to school deserve to know why teachers unions were given access to influence what should have been science-based guidance, while students’ needs were neglected. That is why House Republicans are demanding the CDC answers for why there was coordination with special interest groups before reopen school guidance was released.
It is well past time we follow the science and reopen the schools. Public education isn’t a privilege – it is a responsibility the government should be able to provide to its citizens. From families in San Francisco to New York City, and Arlington, Virginia, every family deserves to have access to a quality education their taxpayers help fund.
When House Republicans are in the majority in 2023, allowing students to go to the school that parents believe is best for them will be a major pillar of our legislative agenda. We made that pledge in our Commitment to America, and we make it again today. Families should never be tethered to schools that fail to provide them with a quality education.