Posted by Curt on 10 September, 2022 at 9:50 am. 2 comments already!


By Karol Markowicz

A few weeks ago, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about the abysmal results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress regarding 9-year-olds. “The nation’s report card,” as the assessment’s crafters like it to be known, had found the sharpest drop ever in mathematics and the steepest decline in reading in over 30 years.
There was no way to escape the damning implications of the extended COVID-19 school closures or Democrats’ owning the lion’s share of the blame for them, so Jean-Pierre tried to deflect: “In less than six months, our schools went from 46% to nearly all of them open to full time. That was the work of this president, and that was the work of Democrats in spite of Republicans not voting for the American Rescue Plan, [of] which $130 billion went to schools to be able to have the ventilation, to have the tutoring and the teachers and being able to hire more teachers, and that was because of the work that this administration did.”
This is a lie Democrats are increasingly telling themselves and anyone who will listen because they need the villains of this particular story to somehow be transformed in the public’s imagination into the heroes. The arsonists want to be remembered as the firefighters.
But the reality wholeheartedly refutes the spin. Before President Joe Biden even took office in January 2021, he set a very unambitious goal to get schools open in the first 100 days. One problem: That 100-day goal meant children would finally head back to regular school in May, right around the time schools around the country were shutting down for the summer. In the end, it wouldn’t matter. The 100-day plan would run headlong into the same roadblock that had kept schools closed before Biden became president: Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Federation of Teachers who had directed the Democratic officials in her pocket to fall in line.
During a press briefing on Feb. 9, 2021, then-press secretary Jen Psaki suddenly backtracked on what “open schools” meant to the president. “His goal that he set is to have the majority of schools, so more than 50%, open by Day 100 of his presidency. And that means some teaching in classrooms, so at least one day a week. Hopefully, it’s more. And obviously, it is as much as is safe in each school and local district.” Asked to clarify, Psaki answered, “Well, teaching at least one day a week in the majority of schools by Day 100.”
This was bizarre: The majority of the schools were already open for at least one day a week of teaching throughout the country before Biden ever took office., the left-leaning operation led out of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, was puzzled, too. “According to Burbio , a company that aggregates school event information and tracks school reopenings , 40.6% of K-12 students in the U.S. are attending schools that offer traditional, in-person learning; 25.5% are attending schools that offer hybrid, or two to three days a week in-person learning; and 33.9% are attending schools that offer ‘virtual only’ school,” it said. “In other words, as of Feb. 10, an estimated 66.1% of K-12 students attend schools that offer either traditional in-person instruction every day, or hybrid instruction — at least one day a week in person.” concluded, “Biden’s reopening goal, as defined by Psaki this week to mean more than 50% of schools offering in-person instruction at least once a week, has already been achieved.”
That wasn’t the only dishonest aspect of Psaki’s routine. By the time of that press conference, she would have already been aware that school openings were not going to happen. Just a few days earlier, on Feb. 1, Kelly Trautner, the AFT’s senior director for health issues, sent over feedback on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s reopening plan to CDC officials as well as Carole Johnson, the White House coronavirus testing coordinator, with “possible ways to strengthen the document.” They had met a few days earlier, and Trautner thanked them “for Friday’s rich discussion about forthcoming CDC guidance and for your openness to the suggestions made by our president, Randi Weingarten, and the AFT.”
“We are immensely grateful for your genuine desire to earn our confidence and your commitment to partnership,” Trautner wrote to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Feb. 3.
Finally, a call between Weingarten and Walensky occurred on Feb. 7. Weingarten got Walensky to include a provision that would allow remote learning for any area experiencing high levels of transmission — which was most of the country at that point.
By the time of the Feb. 9 press conference, Psaki knew that Weingarten and the AFT had made sure schools were staying closed. The CDC had capitulated and thrown science out the window to support the Biden administration’s political aims. Now, Psaki’s successor is outright lying to cover up that bit of history.
The timeline is important because it shows how the school closures were pushed for far longer than ever made sense as well as who was responsible for those closures — and therefore the brutal NAEP results.
Everyone understood the school closures in the spring of 2020. But by that September, schools had opened in Europe and were opening full time in many places around the United States. The places that kept schools closed were deep-blue areas of the country where local government officials were under Weingarten’s thumb and the politicized CDC was reduced to a mere agent of union enforcement. Then-President Donald Trump was pushing for schools to open, and opposing Trump was considered the worthiest of goals for Democratic politicians and their media accomplices — certainly, from the Democrats’ perspective, more important than whatever was happening to the nation’s schoolchildren.
A CNN piece from July 2020 is a case in point. Reporter Gregory Krieg painted school districts that were planning to open as irresponsible. Those, such as New York City, that would open on a hybrid model were portrayed as taking the virus seriously. “Despite the complexities and warning signs, Trump has ignored public worries and declined to offer meaningful guidance on how to reopen schools, instead insisting on forging ahead.” Trump was, of course, right to forge ahead. About Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose focus on opening schools and businesses has made him a national celebrity, Krieg wrote: “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a vocal Trump acolyte, has been insistent that children return to school despite the state’s skyrocketing number of coronavirus cases and, on July 9, compared the task to re-opening big box stores.” DeSantis, too, was right.
Meanwhile, Weingarten started to sound increasingly overwrought: “This new thing from Florida and from Texas of ‘we’re going to open five days a week and we’re going to open as normal’ — this was new in the mix and clearly a pressure campaign by the administration because they look, frankly, at schools as if it was child care as opposed to education.” Weingarten is also rewriting her own history. She now says she “fought” to open schools as early as April 2020. In fact, as late as July 2021, Weingarten would not commit to allowing schools to open in September 2021.
There was an avalanche of media portraying opening the schools as some kind of crazy, risky adventure. “ Trump pushes and threatens in bid to fully reopen schools ,” blared a Washington Post headline in July 2020. Politico’s headline posited that Trump had ulterior motives: “Trump wants to reopen schools. Hint: It’s not just about education.” But no education-loving Democrats stepped in to agree with Trump anyway. No other reopening was treated this way. Only children, the least vulnerable to the virus, were targeted in this fashion.

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