GOP Sen. Rick Scott of Florida argued Tuesday the Biden administration has been characterized so far by lax border security and a tendency to align with teachers unions’ wishes to keep many schools closed.
“In four weeks, the Biden administration has been known for two things: open borders and closed schools,” Scott told reporters during a Capitol Hill news conference with some of his Republican colleagues.
First, Biden officials claimed they would follow the science, but then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report earlier this month saying schools can and should be open, he recounted.
“Then they said they need money,” Scott continued. “Well, last year Congress allocated $68 billion for K-12 education and approximately $4 billion of it has been spent, so it clearly is not waiting for money.
“It’s just basically Democrats and the teachers union don’t care about our students,” the senator contended.
Sen. Rick Scott: “In four weeks, the Biden administration has been known for two things open borders and closed schools.” pic.twitter.com/OlQ5voJK8o
— The Hill (@thehill) February 23, 2021
Scott went on to point out the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill that Democrats are seeking to pass includes an additional $120 billion in K-12 education spending.
However, 95 percent of it won’t be spent to open schools this year, but is allocated to the upcoming years of 2022 through 2028, he said.
“So, this new stimulus package is not going to do anything to open our schools. They need to decide to open our schools,” Scott explained.
Florida was one of the states that reopened its K-12 schools en masse in August, and a COVID-19 surge did not follow, USA Today reported in late September.
“A USA Today analysis shows the state’s positive case count among kids ages 5 to 17 declined through late September after a peak in July. Among the counties seeing surges in overall cases, it’s college-age adults — not schoolchildren — driving the trend, the analysis found,” according to the paper.
Despite California’s far stricter COVID mitigation efforts, its infection rate per 100,000 people is almost exactly the same as Florida.
The Burbio K-12 School Opening Tracker shows each state’s in-person learning by percentage.
Iowa, Wyoming and Montana have 100 percent in-person learning, followed by Florida at 99.9 percent.
Other states with over 90 percent in-person instruction include Texas, Nebraska, Utah, North Dakota and Arkansas.
Some of the states with the lowest percentage of students in the classroom (approximately 19 percent or less) are on the West Coast: California, Oregon and Washington.
Meanwhile, on the East Coast, Maryland has the least in-person instruction, followed by Virginia and Massachusetts.
Scott also pointed out that the coronavirus relief bill does not have money to help secure the border, though there has been a surge of migrants creating potential health risk to themselves and American citizens.
“This is the first time since the surge of 2019 that [Customs and Border Protection] has been compelled to revive the controversial [catch-and-release] policy,” according to the news outlet.
In addition to reinstating catch and release, the first day Biden took office, he signed an executive order directing construction on the U.S.-Mexico border wall to stop.
Scott concluded, “So Democrats don’t care about our families’ safety, and they clearly don’t care about our kids’ education.”
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