In Massachusetts, the reaction to the Trump administration's new message that schools must reopen come September has been cool, with one Boston teacher calling it "inconsiderate" amid the coronavirus pandemic.
President Donald Trump has tweeted a threat to withhold federal funds if schools do not reopen. At a Department of Education briefing Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence had a gentler way of expressing it.
“We’re going to be looking for ways to give states a strong incentive and encouragement to get kids back to school,” Pence said.
UMass Boston Professor Erin O’Brien said, “I’m sure a lot of administrators, superintendents, woke up this morning … and thought, 'Oh no, please stay out of this.'"
She said Trump’s comments should be taken with a grain of salt, since it is Congress that determines the education budget.
“It’s an empty threat. Any president doesn’t have the power to do so,” O’Brien said.
Lea Serena, a second grade teacher in the Boston Public Schools and a member of the city’s reopening task force, said, “I think that it is inconsiderate to say the least ... we definitely don’t need the added pressure.“
Serena said most teachers would love to be back in school and would much rather avoid remote learning, “but on a logistical matter, we’re definitely not ready. And I would not feel comfortable going back.”
Gov. Charlie Baker says he’d prefer the feds work with states to ensure schools have the strategies and resources they need to re-open adding, “I think it’s inappropriate for the feds to think about this as a one-size-fits-all” solution.