Not only is the Biden administration attacking Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, but it is also now actively defying his authority by offering financial support to school districts that are opposing his ban on mask mandates in schools.
U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona sent a letter on Friday to the governor and state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. It asserted that school districts that have defied DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates would have federal funds made available to them.
“Florida’s recent actions to block school districts from voluntarily adopting science-based strategies for preventing the spread of COVID-19 that are aligned with the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts students and staff at risk,” Cardona posited in the letter.
Earlier this month, the CDC recommended all children in school wear masks regardless of whether they had been vaccinated or not. It was not a command, it was a suggestion by the CDC. Nonetheless, the Biden administration has seized upon it to justify mandatory masking of children. DeSantis is decrying the overreach.
(Video Credit: Fox News)
“We are eager to partner with [the Florida Department of Education] on any efforts to further our shared goals of protecting the health and safety of students and educators,” Cardona declared. “If FLDOE does not wish to pursue such an approach, the Department will continue to work directly with the school districts and educators that serve Florida’s students.”
The letter sent to the governor also stated:
In particular, I am deeply concerned about Florida’s July 30 Executive Order prohibiting school districts from adopting universal masking policies consistent with CDC guidance. Moreover, on August 9, the Governor’s spokesperson released a statement specifying that in cases where school districts adopt masking policies consistent with CDC guidance, ‘the State Board of Education could move to withhold the salary of the district superintendent or school board members.’ The Governor’s Office appeared to further clarify that penalties could take the forms of fines on a school district.
The Department recognizes that several school districts in your State have already moved to adopt such policies in line with guidance from the CDC for the reopening and operation of school facilities despite the State level prohibitions. The Department stands with these dedicated educators who are working to safely reopen schools and maintain safe in-person instruction.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP Act) provides more than $7 billion to support Florida’s students and educators through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). The Department notes that allowable uses of ESSER funds include ‘activities that are necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of services in local educational agencies and continuing to employ existing staff of the local educational agency.’ This includes paying the full salaries of educators (including superintendents) and school board members, regardless of whether the State moves to withhold some of their salary as Florida is threatening.
DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw castigated the Biden administration for focusing more on “superintendents and elected politicians, who don’t believe that parents have a right to choose what’s best for their children, than on Florida’s students, which is what these funds should be used for.”
“This is completely unsubstantiated, and we are disappointed that the federal government is sacrificing science for their political agenda,” the governor’s communications director, Taryn Fenske, proclaimed in a statement.
The White House and other reports are contending that Florida is suffering from one of the worst outbreaks in the nation due to the delta variant. They go on to claim that Florida and Texas account for 40 percent of the country’s virus hospitalizations.
DeSantis believes parents should decide whether their children should wear masks or not at school. He also believes that teachers who defy his ban on mask mandates should pay a price.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 11, 2021
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 10, 2021
Biden has previously said he doesn’t believe he has the authority to challenge DeSantis’ direct authority or overturn his actions. So he found a way to sidestep the governor.
Cardona also sent a letter to Governor Greg Abbott in Texas concerning his ban on mask mandates.
Americans don’t like it when a president overreaches his authority:
Hmmm….So Big Boy Joe is going to reach over state politicians!? Then why have them? Seems more like a dictatorship! Not for sure what’s left of our FREE Nation but don’t think that will workout! I’ve always heard “the South will rise again”…just may see it!
— FarmersFight2021 (@FFight2021) August 14, 2021
Biden needs to do his job. Florida has it right. biden needs to get a mind tune up. he is so so lost. and his party mostly lazy ass libs that have never worked are worse than biden.
— Defend liberty or lose it (@DwayneJ61819216) August 14, 2021
Dear God. There is ZERO evidence that masks work, especially in young children
— cindy (@realcindyg) August 14, 2021
We are but it seems this administration doesn’t want that. I mean they get democrats against republicans if that don’t work let’s put white vs black. Racism. And if that doesn’t work let’s then put the vaccinated against the unvaccinated.
— ONE VISION (@OneVisionCC) August 14, 2021
State Governer allows personal choice, Federal Government says you are not intelligent enough to know what is good for yourself.
— Jacob Beauregard (@JakeB1911) August 14, 2021
This is not the feds role. Selectively paying off school districts for violating a law they don’t like?
— Aegon (@RobertPet73) August 14, 2021
WTF! Isn’t this government overreaching?? When did Biden become Governor of Florida???
— AM (@Angelic_Mtz428) August 14, 2021
What a way to unite the country!
— Jenn (@Jenn515) August 14, 2021
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