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Apparently fed-up with the countless school districts that refuse to reopen their schools despite the coronavirus pandemic receding, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tried proposing an amendment this week to give families up to $10,000 so they may take their kids elsewhere.
Designed to modify the ostensible coronavirus relief bill drafted by Democrats and being debated in the Senate, Amendment #969 would have required that grant money appropriated for closed school districts be redirected into a special fund for families.
“Each State shall establish a State-controlled Direct Education Assistance Fund. In the event that a school fails to timely submit a re-opening plan … the State shall withhold all grant funds that would have been provided to such school under section 2001, depositing such amount into the Direct Education Assistance Fund,” the amendment read.
“The State shall administer the Direct Education Assistance Fund, using the monies deposited therein, to establish and operate a grant program to assist families with educational costs in order to provide students with access to alternative education for the 2021-2022 school year,” it continued.
Parents who live in districts where schools remain closed would have then been able to apply for a $10,000 grant from the fund so that they could afford to send their children to schools that are open.
In a video posted to Twitter early Saturday morning, Cruz explained the reasoning behind his amendment.
Democrats have shown they care more about partisan pandering and what teachers union bosses want than the needs of America’s children.
For states that won’t open schools, I’ve proposed an amendment to provide up to $10,000 scholarships per child to get kids into an open school. pic.twitter.com/qGLmxJqw1y
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) March 6, 2021
“What’s happening with schoolkids today is a disgrace. It is an outrage. Right now today, fewer than 40 percent of schoolkids in America are going to school in-person five days a week. More than half of kids are not able to go to school. This has been going on for a year. The COVID lockdown started a year ago. Enough is enough,” he said.
“Millions of kids are falling behind: low-income kids, African American kids, Hispanic kids. Millions of children are not learning reading, writing, mathematics, history, science, art, music. And the damage will stay with them forever. They’re falling months behind. Up to a year behind. This needs to end now.”
Multiple reports have confirmed that children across the nation are growing depressed and falling behind because of being stuck at home versus in a classroom.
“Even kids in grammar school are getting depressed. They miss their friends. A lot of them aren’t doing as well academically. With depression also comes weight gain. They’re bored, and I think they’re comfort-eating,” Brittany Wilson, a New York physician assistant, said to The Wall Street Journal last month.
Yet the Democrats’ ostensible coronavirus relief bill, which contains boatloads of money for schools, doesn’t even require that they open.
“We need to open the schools now. We’re right in the middle of voting on the Democrats’ massive pork bill. They’re calling it a stimulus bill. $1.9 billion dollars. They’re shoveling billions and billions of dollars for the schools and not requiring they open up, allowing the schools to stay shut,” Cruz explained.
Plus, the majority of the purported coronavirus relief grants aren’t even designed to be used amid the pandemic this school year.
95% of COVID relief money for schools ‘won’t even start to be spent until 2022 … spending until 2028’ https://t.co/gwXrHjPQiK pic.twitter.com/IEG8RQ3NOn
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) February 24, 2021
This is why Cruz proposed an amendment.
“Well, I’ve introduced an amendment — a very simple amendment — that says, for any school, if you want to get the billions of dollars being shoveled out of Washington right now, the extra money, open your doors, do your jobs, actually teach the kids. If you’re not open, if you’re not teaching the kids in-person, you don’t get the extra money,” the Texas senator explained.
As of Friday, the amendment had been endorsed by the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks:
KEY VOTE: @club4growth urges all Senators to vote YES on @SenTedCruz’s Amendment #969, which would provide children with an option for in-classroom education instruction if the child’s local public school does not commit to reopening to 5-day-a-week, in-classroom instruction. pic.twitter.com/naOEwGx4pJ
— Club for Growth (@club4growth) March 5, 2021
But as of about 8:30 am Saturday morning, the amendment had, sadly, failed in a partisan vote, with every Democrat predictably voting against it and all but one Republican voting for it. It’s not clear which Republican chose to not vote at all.
Not adopted, 49-50: Cruz Amendment #969 (School Choice) in relation to H.R.1319, FY2021 Budget Reconciliation.
— Senate Cloakroom (@SenateCloakroom) March 6, 2021
Some Dems may have voted against the bill because they are tied to teachers’ unions, some of whom have labelled the push to re-open schools as “racist.”
“California’s largest local teachers union on Monday slammed the state’s new school reopening plan as ‘a recipe for propagating structural racism’ hours after Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic lawmakers unveiled their compromise proposal,” Politico reported earlier in the week.
But that doesn’t appear to be based on fact.
“Poor black and Hispanic kids have been harmed most by school closures. It’s hard getting six-year-olds to pay attention on Zoom even with a parent helping to keep them focused,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
“But most low-income parents work outside their home, and many don’t speak English. Yet UTLA claims that teachers with the privilege of working from home every day are victims of systemic racism,” the outlet added.
Plus, many of the loudest advocates for reopening schools are minority parents:
TONIGHT: Some black parents in South LA are outraged after hearing UTLA’s president say that wealthy parents are behind push to reopen LA schools, & that reopening now is racist. They tell me she does not speak for them & they’re holding a reopening rally on Sat. in Watts @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/zdNeNYve0N
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) March 3, 2021
Lamar Freeman has been a coach of LA Rampage, a youth football team in Watts, since 2011. He says every parent he talks to wants their kids back in school & UTLA’s comments “sounded like an excuse”. He says prior to Zoom learning, his team had 80% honor roll rate. Now 20% @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/sZo80wpSW1
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) March 3, 2021
But for reasons that remain unclear, Democrats refuse to help parents like the ones highlighted above …
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