The Path Forward: K-12 Schools

As COVID-19 continues to surge across the country, local, state and federal officials are debating how to safely reopen K-12 schools. With many schools traditionally starting their year in August or September, parents and educators are searching for answers and guidance. School districts need funds to implement social-distancing measures and teachers are calling for better testing, contact tracing and access to personal protective equipment. Washington Post reporter Eugene Scott talks with Lily Eskelsen García, the president of the National Education Association and representing over 3 million educators and Alberto M. Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth largest public school system.
Highlights
National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen García says President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ demands to reopen schools without a plan is ‘outrageous.’ She adds that educators were very concerned after the CDC ‘watered down’ its reissued guidelines for reopening. ‘They took out the language that said children with health issues are more at risk. They took that out and put in may be more at risk...There’s still not a lot about the risk of teachers and support staff in opening schools. That’s disturbing. It makes us feel like we’re expendable or being intentionally punished.’
  • Jul 28
National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen García says federal funding is necessary to make sure kids in the poorest communities have access to the technology they need to learn remotely. “For some kids, it’s impossible…We have kids that we couldn’t even call on the phone…We asked for billions of dollars…to help pay for hot spots and tablets for these kids.”
  • Jul 28
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said teachers in Florida are itching to get back in the classroom. Miami-Dade County Superintendent Alberto Carvalho agreed, saying educators are anxious to reunite with their students, but he says significant hurdles -- like contact tracing and providing test results faster -- must be addressed to make sure they can do so safety.
  • Jul 28
President Trump threatened to pull federal funding if schools do not reopen this fall. Miami-Dade County Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said he hopes ‘compassion and understanding prevail.’ ‘It’d be a sad day in America if we were to put the kids who are in crisis before the covid crisis in greater jeopardy’
  • Jul 28
Lily Eskelsen Garcíacía
President, National Education Association
Lily Eskelsen García is president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest labor union.
Alberto M. Carvalho
Superintendent, Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Alberto M. Carvalho has served as Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), the nation’s fourth largest school system, since September 2008. He is a nationally recognized expert on education transformation, finance, and leadership development.
Eugene Scott
The Washington Post
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