ENCOURAGING SCHOOLS TO REOPEN SAFELY: President Donald J. Trump is taking action to ensure schools safely reopen in the fall and empower parents to make decisions about their children’s education.
- President Trump is calling for legislation to ensure that schools have the funding and incentives they need to safely reopen this fall and to empower families with school choice.
- To encourage schools to make in-person classes available this fall, the President is requesting $105 billion in education funding as part of the next coronavirus relief bill—$70 billion of which will directly support K-12 education.
- Approximately $35 billion of the $70 billion will be reserved for schools that reopen.
- Under the President’s vision, students and parents will also be offered support to allow them to choose the school options that are best for them.
- Along with any new funding, schools must innovate and employ creative methods – such as flexible schedules, cohorting, and master teaching – to keep kids and teachers safe.
- If schools do not reopen, funding should follow students so parents can send their child to the private, charter, religious, or home school of their choice.
PROVIDING FLEXIBILITY TO PARENTS: Parents should be given the flexibility to choose what option is best for the wellbeing of their child and family.
- It is vital that parents be allowed to weigh both the benefits and risks of sending their child back to school, including the level of community spread and the makeup of their household, especially for multi-generational households.
- The best available evidence indicates that COVID-19 poses relatively low risks to school-aged children.
- Data suggests that children and adolescents under 18 years old account for under 7 percent of COVID-19 cases, and 99.96 percent of all fatalities are adults.
- Lengthy time away from school both harms a student’s ability to advance academically and prevents educators from best ensuring the wellbeing of students.
- Furthermore, school closures make it difficult for parents to work, potentially hampering the financial security of millions of working American families.
- Estimates from the Council of Economic Advisors suggest that 5.6 million parents will be unable to return to work if schools do not reopen this year.
PRIORITIZING THE WELFARE OF OUR NATION’S CHILDREN: Failure to offer in-person classes could harm students’ development, especially those in disadvantaged communities.
- While studies have shown that long-term school closures adversely impact students from all backgrounds, they are especially harmful for those with fewer resources.
- According to a survey by EdTrust, 50 percent of low-income and 42 percent of families of color lack sufficient devices at home to access distance learning.
- McKinsey & Co. has found that school shutdowns deprive lower income students of vital support and engagement, resulting in disproportionate learning losses.
- Another study showed that due to shutdowns last spring, the average student will begin this school year roughly 35 percent behind in reading and more than 50 percent behind in math compared to a typical year.
- Without in-person learning, educators are also unable to monitor important learning deficits, as well as report signs of abuse and address mental health problems.
- According to Federal data, education personnel report one in five cases alleging child abuse or neglect.
- Lack of in-person learning also deprives students, especially the most disadvantaged students, of access to important services.
- Nationwide, nearly 30 million American students rely on schools for free or reduced meals.
- More than 70% of children receiving mental health services do so at school, and nearly all therapies for children with intellectual or physical disabilities are performed at school.