At Thursday’s White House press briefing, Yahoo News National Correspondent Alexander Nazaryan asked U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona how the federal government plans to handle the potential backlash from local teachers' unions over the reopening of schools at the end of summer. According to Cardona, the Dept. of Education is working closely with state and local authorities, "making sure our students have teachers in front of the classroom, but they both feel safe."
- Secretary, but what are you going to do if and when teachers unions protest with placards that say we can't teach from the grave online until cases decline? As the Federal Secretary with limited powers to affect local decisions, what are you going to do? And as a parent, as a journalist, I know about the $130 billion.
I know that online has a lot of risks for kids. Everybody knows that. But what are we going to do in those situations?
- I think what are we doing? We have the road map with very clear guidance. We're promoting pop-up clinics.
We're sharing best practices where it's happening. We're monitoring data. We stood up a system in the Department of Education.
I'm having calls with governors daily. I'm having calls with superintendents, school chiefs, to problem solve with them to make sure that we can get them in there. And the way the question was framed, I'd like to look at it this way. How are we working with our teachers unions to ensure a safe reopening of schools?
They're doing a lot of work. And they're investing their own money to make sure that our schools can safely reopen and getting the message out to their teachers. We're working hand in hand to make sure that our students have teachers in front of the classroom, but that they both feel safe.