Matt Barnum reports that Trump and DeVos renewed their pressure to reopen schools despite the fact that most large districts have ignored their previous threats to cut funding. They and their Senate allies have refused to provide the funding necessary to enable schools to open safely, in accordance with CDC guidelines. Please open the article and read it in full, both for the links and the content. The Trump administration apparently believes that safety measures—like masks and social distancing—are unnecessary except for “high risk” individuals. Trump’s politicization of reopening will not assuage any parent’s fears. No child should be compelled to return in a district where the risk is high to help Trump’s re-election campaign.

He writes:

The Trump administration mounted a pressure campaign last month aimed at getting America’s schools to reopen their doors. To a large extent, it didn’t work.

Now, officials are trying again, in a move that might signal that Republican leaders are unlikely to relent in their push to tie additional school funding to physical reopening.

At a White House event Wednesday, President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos continued to make the case that schools must reopen because children benefit from in-person learning and the economy benefits from the de facto child care that schools provide. They cast opposition to reopening as driven by teachers unions, while pushing aside concerns about virus transmission.

“For students and their families, they can’t be held captive to other people’s fears or agendas,” said DeVos. “We have got to ensure that families and parents have options that are going to work for their child.”

“We cannot indefinitely stop 50 million American children from going to school and harming their mental, physical, emotional, and academic development and inflicting long-term, lasting damage,” Trump said at a Wednesday evening press conference.

The comments signal that President Trump continues to see school reopening as key to the country’s, and perhaps his electoral, fortunes. But it’s unclear whether he will find any more success. Most of the country’s largest districts are starting the year virtually, and most parents, teachers, and voters are skeptical of the push to reopen school buildings — even as many worry about child care and the ability of students with disabilities, among others, to get the support they need at home.

The administration’s messaging has contributed to a deep political polarization on the issue of reopening, a divide that may have affected which districts reopen buildings. A Brookings Institution analysis found that schools were more likely to open for in-person instruction in areas where Trump got more votes….

At Wednesday’s event, Trump reiterated his argument that schools that reopen shouldn’t get money from the federal government. “I would like the money to follow the student,” he said. “If the school is closed, why are we paying?”…

On Wednesday, White House officials argued the public is on its side. “Parents overwhelmingly are saying yes when they are asked do you feel it is safe for your son or daughter to return to school,” said counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway.

“Teachers want to be back in the classroom with their kids, even if they have an underlying condition,” said Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran, who has pushed schools in the state to reopen and has been sued by the state teachers’ union.

Polls tell a different story, though. Most parents, especially parents of color, say they prefer that schools err on the side of safety rather than push to reopen quickly. A July poll, for instance, found that 60% of parents prefer that school reopen later to reduce risk…

The White House event will likely do little to assuage those concerns. Two of the participants — Paul Peterson, a Harvard education professor, and Scott Atlas, a medical doctor and fellow at a conservative think tank — recently co-authored an op-ed suggesting that schools forgo many widely recommended safety precautions.

“Even in states and districts where schools are allowed to re-open, unnecessary restrictions and requirements will seriously jeopardize our children’s education,” they wrote in The Hill. “Masked teachers can hardly be effective … Repetitive sanitation and temperature-taking activities subtract from the time on educational tasks that students need … Worst of all, social distancing rules will disrupt regular, full-schedule attendance.”

Paul Petersen is a professor of education policy at Harvard who relentlessly promotes charters and vouchers. He has no credentials in public health. He and Dr. Atlas are both fellows at the conservative Hoover Institution. Atlas is an advisor to Trump on COVID-19 and advised Trump’s presidential campaign.