The American Academy of Pediatrics joined teachers’ unions on Friday in calling on President Trump’s threats to withhold federal funds for schools that are not fully reopened this fall amid the pandemic of coronavirus, a “wrong approach”, warning that it “would threaten the health” of students and teachers
President Trump this week threatened to cut federal funds for schools that plan to remain closed or keep students home for remote learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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The AAP, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Association for Education and the Association of School Superintendents released a long statement on Friday, apparently in response to threats from the President, urging Congress and the Trump administration to maintain federal funding for schools. of all country.
“Reopening schools in a way that maximizes the safety, learning, and well-being of children, teachers, and staff will clearly require substantial new investments in our schools and campuses,” the organizations wrote. “We call on Congress and the administration to provide the necessary federal resources to ensure that inadequate funding does not impede the education and care of our children in our schools.”
They added: “Withholding funds from schools that do not open in person full-time would be the wrong approach, putting financially struggling schools in an impossible position that would threaten the health of students and teachers.”
The organizations continued to point out that “educators and pediatricians share the goal of having children safely return to school this fall,” but urged “scientific and community circumstances” to “guide decision-making.”
“Returning to school is important to the healthy development and well-being of children, but we must seek reopening safely for all students, teachers, and staff,” the organizations stated. “Science should drive decision-making about the safe reopening of schools.”
The organizations added that “public health agencies should make recommendations based on evidence, not policy.”
“We must let health experts tell us when is the best time to open school buildings and listen to educators and administrators to determine how we do it,” they added.
The statement comes as Trump has been pushing for schools to reopen in the fall, repeatedly signaling the AAP’s warnings about the mental and intellectual consequences of distance learning. The AAP had advised that “all policy considerations for the upcoming school year should begin with the goal of having students physically present at school.”
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The AAP was also represented at the President’s school reopening event at the White House earlier this week, and had been urging officials to allow students to be physically present in the classroom.
However, the AAP and teacher unions stressed the importance of in-person learning, while noting that many services offered by schools “cannot be easily replicated online.”
The President has been criticizing virtual learning, as states across the country have begun implementing proposals for the reopening, which include a combined schedule, inviting students to the classroom two to three days a week, and learning in a way remote for the rest of the week.
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On Friday morning, Trump called e-learning “terrible” and again threatened to cut funding for schools that don’t fully reopen in the fall due to sudden increases in positive cases of the new coronavirus in states across the globe. the country.
The president this week also pledged to pressure governors to reopen schools.
“We don’t want people to make political statements or to do it for political reasons, they think it will be good for them politically, so they keep schools closed, in no way,” Trump said. “So we are going to put a lot of pressure on the governors and everyone else to open the schools.”
“Our country has to return, and it must return as soon as possible, and I do not consider that our country will return if the schools are closed,” added the president. “Everyone wants it, mothers want it, fathers want it, children want it.”
Regarding virtual learning, some states and cities, such as New York City, have begun to submit their back-to-school proposals for the 2020-2021 school year, which would include “blended” learning. If the New York City plan is approved, students will be in the classroom no more than three days a week for in-person learning and will be at home for the rest of the week for remote learning.