By now you’re familiar with President-elect Joe Biden’s tweet detailing the three promises he had for the first 100 days of his administration, and one of those was the promise to open most schools.
In the first 100 days of my administration, we will:
– Ask all Americans to mask up
– Administer 100 million vaccine shots
– Get most schools back open
We’re going to contain the virus and get back to our lives.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 22, 2020
Asked by a reporter to define what Biden meant by “open,” a maskless yet refreshing White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki explained that the goal was to have the majority of schools holding in-person learning at least one day a week by the end of April. Others must have heard the same thing we did because it came up at Biden’s CNN town hall, where he explained that the one-day-a-week goal was “a mistake in the communication.”
And speaking of setting the bar low; it shouldn’t be tough getting most schools back open when most schools are already open:
This is a total lie. Joe Biden's "50% of schools" goal is a complete farce. 50% of Districts were already open in November. And MORE than 50% of districts were ALREADY open the first week into his presidency.
— Josh – Data Analyst in Nashville (@ifihadastick) February 18, 2021
CNN has helpfully provided an analysis of the Biden administration’s goals and stated position to see what the holdup is:
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 18, 2021
So, Maeve Reston and Stephen Collinson, why is opening schools so hard for the White House?
A month into the new administration, the White House still cannot provide the clarity much of America needs about when children can return to school, which kids can go back and when their teachers will be vaccinated. Biden declared Tuesday night at a CNN town hall that teachers should be prioritized for vaccinations. But decisions about teacher vaccinations and schools reopening are made at the local level — with school districts often having to abide by state guidelines that determine based on the level of transmission in a community.
This is a reflection of the enormous scientific, educational and political lift it will require to get millions of young Americans back into in-person learning. Given these complications, it’s perhaps not surprising White House officials have hedged on key details. But at times, their unspecific language and repetition of talking points apparently designed to navigate a tricky political position with few easy answers, has only added more opacity.
“Apparently designed to navigate a tricky political position” — they could have stopped there. It’s only in the last four paragraphs that CNN. even brings unions into the picture: “But as pressure mounts, the Los Angeles teachers’ union said the calls for reopening were ‘reckless.'”
It’s easy. They need to bend the knee to the teachers unions. You can make all the excuses for them you want however that doesn’t change the facts. It feels so good having the adults back in charge, nothing gets done but everyone “feels” better
— Proud Independent (@whiter069) February 18, 2021
Only the stupid feel better, but that is a huge chunk of the country unfortunately
— Stephen (@stephen46785) February 18, 2021
Because Democrats and the unions see this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to double or triple the number of teachers in the name of social distancing, knowing the new hires won't be let go after the pandemic. That means more dues to the union and more money to Democrats. https://t.co/FjY6K2MkVq
— Reverend Doctor Jill Biden Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) February 18, 2021
The answer is simple: they don't want to admit that Trump was correct.
— Reaper#2 (@rlc_TMASllc) February 18, 2021
We’re willing to send kids to school with bulletproof backpacks…
— Brenda Kolb (@brendaekolb) February 18, 2021
Because Biden is not a leader and Fauci keeps changing his mind.
— Donna McBroomTheriot (@TheDonnaMcBroom) February 18, 2021
That's a hell of a word salad to say teachers unions
— OC and Stiggs (@_Me_Three) February 18, 2021
— Dog guy (@Catsorange1) February 18, 2021
Because Biden is beholden to the unions instead of what's best for the children.
— john (@John_S951) February 18, 2021
Reason 1: The science takes a backseat to teachers unions. Reason 2: Biden is extremely indebted to the teachers unions
— (First Name) (Last Name), B.A. (@pk82135162) February 18, 2021
Because he’s ignoring the science.
— syd (@SydneyCarton1) February 18, 2021
The party of science no longer listens to science.
— Megalodon Jaw (@JawMegalodon) February 18, 2021
Because they are not following the science and then lying about it.
— Sentinel (@3Sentinel4) February 18, 2021
Because they’re pandering to unions that give them millions of dollars.
— ??Lizct?? (@LizpatriotCT) February 18, 2021
Biden is waiting for them to tell him what to do, and he’s taking a nap right now. I like how you use “the White House “ now with Biden. Baby gloves much?
— Beto Felan (@beto_felan) February 18, 2021
why is the news pretending as if 60% of our schools have not been open since September? What bubble are these people living in?
— QuadeGarrett (@quade_garrett) February 18, 2021
It's not hard. They're beholden to the teachers unions who do not want to go back to work unless everything on their wish list granted.
Jesus, if it was about the science or the kids…THE KIDS WOULD HAVE BEEN IN SCHOOL MONTHS Ago!! (like they have been in numerous states)
— Big_A (@asomer) February 18, 2021
Easy. Because it was never about the kids. It was about sending money to the left wing nut jobs in the teachers unions and schools.
— KLK (@kristin1970) February 18, 2021
A better article would've been "why is it so hard for CNN to call out the Biden administration's deep ties to teachers unions which are now obviously clouding their decision making on reopening schools?"
— Big_A (@asomer) February 18, 2021
Everything is hard for this White House. This administration is a total joke but hey at least we don’t have someone tweeting mean things. ?
— AudreyS (@AudraBethke) February 18, 2021
It was brave of CNN to note the Biden administration’s “opacity” on the subject.
President Biden says ‘it was a mistake in the communication’ when Jen Psaki said the goal was to open schools one day a week https://t.co/xfdBSEgL76
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) February 17, 2021