ICYMI: As Biden Lays Out School Reopening Plan, Battleground Democrats Slam Trump’s Failures

Today, former Vice President Joe Biden called out Donald Trump’s failure to handle the COVID-19 pandemic and discussed his plan to safely reopen schools. Leading up to the new school year, Democrats around the country have been highlighting the local impacts of Trump’s disastrous pandemic response on students, teachers, and families. Here are some recent examples from across the battlegrounds:

In Arizona:

Arizona Capitol Times: 2019 AZ Teacher of the Year Kareem Neal: We won’t let President Trump bully schools into reopening. “[As] students, teachers, and families agonize over what the next few weeks will bring, President Trump and Betsy DeVos have offered no leadership and no clear guidance on how to safely reopen our schools. Instead, Trump and DeVos have made reckless threats to cut off federal funding from our already-underfunded schools unless we give in to the administration’s demands to reopen — even as Arizona surpasses over 4,300 deaths due to COVID-19.”

Superintendent Kathy Hoffman on KSAZ: “Trump’s push to reopen schools is completely out of touch with reality here on the ground in Arizona.”

In Colorado:

Aurora Public School Teacher Bryan Lindstrom: “Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos want to bully schools into reopening without providing us with the resources we need to keep students, families, teachers, and staff safe. In short, they have hung our public schools out to dry, and left students and families to pick up the pieces … It’s crystal clear that Betsy DeVos isn’t listening to teachers and educators on the ground, like myself, about the challenges our schools are facing.”

In Florida: 

FL Democrats: Trump And Desantis Downplay Risk Of Coronavirus As Florida Schools Reopen, Cases Among Children Rise. “As schools across Florida reopen, the state is already experiencing a rise in coronavirus cases among children, with some schools already re-closing its doors. While everyone wants students back in schools, Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos have demanded schools reopen without offering the necessary guidance or resources to do it safely. Instead, they have threatened schools, failed to pass another coronavirus relief package to boost funding for schools, and spread misinformation about the risk coronavirus poses to young people.”

In Georgia:

Atlanta Journal Constitution: “State Rep. Beth Moore, who has been soliciting anonymous tips from students, parents and faculty, said Republicans have been ‘doubling down and making it worse’ … ‘The adults in the room where decisions are made aren’t taking this virus seriously — and the people who will suffer from this are our teachers, children and their families,’ said Moore, a Democrat from Peachtree Corners.”

Georgia Recorder: “‘We know that it did not have to be this bad,’ said state Sen. Nikema Williams, who also chairs the Georgia Democratic Party. ‘Back when this pandemic started, Donald Trump and Brian Kemp were warned by public health experts and doctors that without serious action, we would lose safe, in-person schooling in the fall, but instead of reopening schools in August, Brian Kemp reopened bars and bowling alleys in May.’”

In Michigan: 

U.S. Rep. Andy Levin on WLNS: “We’ve got to change course here and get leadership that will actually take education seriously from pre-k through k-12 to higher education so we can get this pandemic under control and get our kids back to school.”

In Nebraska:

NE State Education Association President Jenni Benson on KETV: “I haven’t seen a plan from the Trump administration in regards to this pandemic, and that is very concerning.”

In New Hampshire: 

Manchester Ink Link: State Rep. Mary Heath: Uncertainty and fear: Educators Week looks a lot different than years before. “Right now, our teachers lack the leadership they deserve. Donald Trump threatened to withhold federal aid from schools that did not reopen schools … What our teachers desperately need right now are leaders in charge who understand the challenges they face.”

Conway Daily Sun: Dems to host teacher-to-teacher grassroots event.“‘Chris Sununu, Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos have spent their days in office plotting new schemes to undermine public education by diverting taxpayer funds from public schools to wealthy private institutions. Now, educators are fired up and ready to kick Sununu, Trump and DeVos out of office for their flimsy school guidance that puts them, parents, and students at risk of COVID-19,’ said Ray Buckley, chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.”

In North Carolina:

WRAL: Former Gov. Perdue: Cooper staying focused on pandemic, but Trump wasting time on politics. “Former Gov. Beverly Perdue praised Gov. Roy Cooper’s efforts to keep the coronavirus pandemic in check in North Carolina while also criticizing the federal response. President Donald Trump spends too much time worried about the political fallout and hasn’t provided a coordinated national response, Perdue says.”

In Ohio:

The Columbus Dispatch: “Callous and clueless” – Ohio teachers unions slam Trump’s call to fully reopen schools. “Democrats and Ohio’s teacher unions blasted Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as ‘callous and clueless’ for her call to fully reopen schools this fall amid a surge in coronavirus infections. ‘Two words come to mind: callous and clueless,’ said Scott DiMauro, president of the Ohio Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union. ‘Secretary DeVos’ comments about just utterly disregarding the health and safety threat (of) reopening schools without clear public health guidance imposes was actually pretty shocking.’”

WSYX: Ohio educators push back on ‘threats’ from White House to reopen schools this fall. “‘It is disturbing to get a phone call from a teacher whose husband has lung disease and diabetes and who is fearful that if she goes back to work, she’ll be putting her husband’s life in jeopardy,’ said Melissa Cropper, President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers.”

In Virginia:

Virginia Mercury: VA Education Association President James Fedderman: Don’t rush school re-openings: “When it comes to reopening our schools, we must proceed with all possible caution. The stakes are too high to take any other approach. We insist that school divisions take the time to properly consider and plan for staff members’ concerns and questions. Trump’s method of threatening public schools and demanding they do what he says will only put more people at risk. Instead, we must allow those with the greatest stake in the matter — those actually carrying out the re-opening — a big enough seat at the table.”

Northern Virginia Daily: “Virginia Democrats insist they want to see children back in school this fall but say a slow federal response to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic has put huge barriers in the way of that happening … ‘Everyone’s top priority right now should be the health and safety of our students, their families and communities and educators who serve them. End of story,’ Fedderman said. ‘It is beyond debate that our government should be working to stop the spread of this virus and do everything in its power to achieve that end.’”

In Wisconsin: 

The Cap Times: WI Education Association Council President Ron Martin: Joe Biden is right — schools need a clear, science-based strategy. “I can’t say I’m surprised at the void in the DeVos/Trump response to the pandemic. They pursued a federal budget that tried to slash over $8 billion in funding for public education, including a proposed elimination of funding for the Special Olympics, assuming nobody would notice. DeVos callously ignored expert guidance on school shootings and supported arming teachers instead of addressing the source of school violence.”

WITI: ‘Anxious and uncertain:’ Questions, concerns persist as schools prep for fall return. “‘Now as we look to another school year, parents and educators are still anxious and uncertain,’ said Martin. ‘We deserve more testing, a national tracing plan, proper PPE and the funding to make it all happen so we can go back to our school face-to-face safely.’”