President Donald Trump on Wednesday outlined a funding model that favors schools that reopen for in-person instruction while allowing families to directly tap their share of the federal dollars in schools that do not.
“I think the money should follow the student,” Trump said during an event Wednesday at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House. “That’s something we want to do, and we’re having a hard time with the Democrats.”
The GOP funding proposal would be $70 billion for K-12 schools, $35 billion would be reserved for those that reopen in-person. For schools that do not reopen in-person, the president said the federal funding “should follow students so parents can send their child to the private, charter, religious or home school of their choice.”
“I think the money should follow the student,” Trump said during an event Wednesday at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House. “That’s something we want to do, and we’re having a hard time with the Democrats.” “I would like the money to follow the students, and in this way, you can make your own choice,” the president reiterated. “If a school is closed, why are we paying the schools?”
Public health experts have been critical of the messaging coming out of the White House and from the president in particular, who has repeatedly said, “children are at little to no risk of contracting the virus, spreading it or getting seriously sick if infected by it,” says Tina Tan, professor of pediatric infectious diseases attending physician at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
But on Wednesday, Trump, who was joined by Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, stayed on message, citing federal data that he said suggests that children under 18 years old account for less than 7% of COVID-19 cases and that 99.96% of all fatalities have occurred in adults.
“We know for students and their families they can’t be held captive to the people’s fears and politics,” DeVos said.Kellyanne Conway, special adviser to the president who was also at the event, said, “parents who want to send their children back to school are being ‘bigfooted’ by county health officials and school boards.”
“The virtual learning is not like being in the classroom,” Trump said, calling hybrid plans that allow students to learn in-person a few days of the week and remotely the others “a little bit ridiculous.”
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