Biden Airlifts the Goalposts on School Reopening: 1 Day a Week!

Matt Welch:

Biden vows to reopen most schools after 1st 100 days on the job,” ran the Associated Press headline on December 8. Advocates of reopening who follow the issue closely could see the potential wiggle room—it’s not the federal government’s call, the full statement was shot through with hedges and conditions, “most” just means 50 percent plus one, etc.

Still, even after the downgrading of most K-12 schoolsto most K-8 schools (sorry, Classes of 2021-24, you’re just hosed), I can’t say I was ready for a goalpost-shift this tectonic:

White House: Our goal is to have 50 percent of schools open by April 30, 2021 — “at least one day per week”

— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 9, 2021

This is the ground-softening in advance of the Biden administration’s expected guidelines tomorrow to “safely reopen” K-8 schools in the United States, which has had among the lowest percentage of classroom attendance in the industrialized world during these past 11 pandemic-cursed months.

Reopening has become a heated political issue, with labor clashes delaying in-school instruction in Democratic-run big cities such as Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Remote and hybrid learning has been statistically brutal on students and their parents, with the former suffering educational setbacks and significant increases in emotional problems, and the latter experiencing a mass dropout of women from the labor force.

Teachers unions and the politicians they support, including Biden, say that more money is needed to safely reopen elementary, middle, and high schools, on top of the $69 billion in additional federal funding they received in two 2020 COVID-relief bills. (The K-12 system typically receives around $40 billion a year from the feds.) Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package proposal contains $130 billion for pre-college education, and an additional $350 billion in fiscal stabilization for the states. Given that public school spending amounts to around 20 percent of state budgets, it’s safe to assume around $70 billion of that would go to K-12.

Complicating that combined $200 billion ask is the fact that many schools are already open five days a week, without any new checks being written.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 


The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.