President Joe Biden promised the American people that he would “follow the science” and that his advisers would lead with “science and truth.” But after more than a month in office, that promise appears to be hollow.
For instance, at first, President Biden said he would reopen the majority of schools within his first 100 days in office. However, when Mr. Biden’s advisers assumed their official positions, they told us that reopening schools meant in-person learning just one day a week. They even called it “bold and ambitious.”
Parents with children in school were outraged, and rightly so. In Tennessee, most of our schools have already met and exceeded this requirement thanks to local school leaders with appropriate support and guidance from Governor Bill Lee and the Republican-controlled State Legislature.
One day a week isn’t a bold or ambitious goal. It’s a cop-out. The Biden Administration set the bar so low it’d be nearly impossible not to hit it. But now, after weeks of bad press, the Biden Administration is walking back that claim. During a CNN town hall, Mr. Biden threw White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki under the bus, saying her comments were a “mistake in the communication.”
Unfortunately for Mr. Biden, it appears the rest of his Administration did not get the memo either when it comes to reopening schools more rapidly. Liberal teachers’ unions in states across the country continue to put up roadblocks to getting our children back into the classroom — even though Dr. Fauci said it was safe for in-person learning and teachers didn’t need to be vaccinated.
But once again, the Biden Administration and Washington liberals threw cold water on this idea — arguing that teachers must be vaccinated before in-person learning can begin. That’s right, Mr. Biden and the Democrats have moved the goalposts once more to protect their key interests – teachers’ unions.
Imagine that — the Biden Administration is more concerned about the political support of teachers’ unions than our children's education. If there's one thing the Biden Administration knows best, it's putting special interest groups above the American people’s well-being, the very definition of the swamp.
Reports indicate that students “are likely to have suffered up to nine months of learning loss in math, on average,” due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and remote learning. And after several schools reopened for in-person learning, studies show little evidence of COVID-19 transmission.
We need to be putting our students first, not last. That means immediately reopening our schools across the country to in-person learning five days a week. It is imperative to do so. Students are not the only ones suffering. Growing up the child of a teacher, I know the best teachers thrive in the classroom, building trust and familiarity with their students. Teachers miss their students as much as students miss the interaction with their teachers and friends.
Guided by local school officials, Tennessee already has its children back in schools. Now, the State Legislature is taking additional steps to ensure local school boards and the Governor have the power to keep our schools open — and not allowing the bureaucrats in Washington to decide.
We can’t allow special interest groups like teachers’ unions to dictate national policy. I applaud Tennessee’s local school leaders, the State Legislature and Governor Lee for leading on this issue and will continue to stand by them every step of the way.
We must reopen our schools so we can allow parents to decide if they want to send their children back to the classroom.
Science says that it’s safe. It’s time for the Biden Administration to “follow the science” and open our schools.
John Rose is the Representative for Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District.