MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee educators are responding to President Joe Biden’s criticism of school districts that chose to return to virtual learning following the winter break due to COVID outbreaks.
During Tuesday remarks, President Biden said “We provided the states with $130 billion with a "b" to specifically keep our students safe and schools open. Funding for ventilation, ventilation systems to the schools, social distancing classrooms, even larger classrooms. On buses and everything from bus drivers to buses, to the actual bus. There were additional, in all this process, we also back then included an additional $10 billion for testing for schools. That money went out to the states. The states and the school districts have spent this money well. Many of them. But unfortunately, some haven't. So I encourage the states and school districts to use the funding that you still have to protect your children and keep the schools open.”
Milwaukee Schools is one of the districts in southeastern Wisconsin that chose to shift back to virtual learning following the winter break, citing an influx of COVID-19 cases among staff.
The district says they will keep students virtual until at least Monday, Jan.10.
Amy Mizialko, president of the Milwaukee Teachers Association, says the president’s comments missed the mark.
“President Biden in his comments shows that he has totally missed the point. This district is virtual, because there simply aren’t enough adults due to the sheer number of positive COVID cases among school staff to safely open schools,” she said.
Milwaukee Schools website shows the district will receive approximately $770 million in federal COVID funding. About $440 million of that will be spent on learning, technology, and extracurricular engagement. Nearly $300 million will be spent on Health and Wellness, and facilities.
Mizialko says the funding isn’t going to fix the problem.
“The government also gave billions with a “b” to the airline industry and you still can’t fly a plane without a pilot” Mizialko said.
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