Governor Charlie Baker responded Wednesday to President Trump’s threat to cut federal funding from school districts that don’t reopen this fall, calling it “inappropriate for the feds to think about this as a one-size-fits-all.”
“I don’t think a one-size-fits-all policy on any of these issues makes a lot of sense,” Baker said during a press conference. “What we’ve done here in Massachusetts is work closely with our colleagues in the health care community, the pediatric community, and the education community to put together a program that’s based on this idea that we would like to see kids return to school. But as part of that, DESE [the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education] is also expecting schools to develop programs that would work on either a hybrid basis or a remote basis depending upon what happens.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump tweeted out his threat, writing that other countries, such as Germany, Denmark, and Norway have reopened their schools “with no problems.” He didn’t explain what funding he planned to cut off or how he would do it.
Trump also criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calling its guidelines for schools reopening “very tough & expensive.”
Vice President Mike Pence later said — after a meeting of the White House coronavirus task force — that the CDC will put out new guidelines on schools reopening because it is “absolutely essential” for children to return to in-person learning this fall.
But Baker said Trump’s administration should focus less on putting “a one-size-fits-all or an ultimatum in place” and more on providing the resources that school districts will need to safely return children to the classroom.
“I think what they ought to be doing is working with folks like us and others to come up with strategies that ensure that they and we can work together to ensure that schools have the resources they need to be able to open,” Baker said.