Ayanna Pressley Slams Betsy DeVos On Her Insistence That Schools Reopen

by Julie Scagell
Ayanna Pressley Slams Betsy DeVos' Lack Of Plan For School Return
Tom Williams/Caroline Brehman/Getty

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gave no scientific data to back up her claims that schools are safe to reopen

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) used her words to own Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Sunday after she appeared on Fox News and CNN to champion kids returning to “learning full-time” in person by the fall — echoing Trump’s comments earlier in the week.

Pressley, a U.S. Representative for Massachusetts’s 7th congressional district, tweeted an epic takedown of DeVos on Sunday afternoon, writing, “@BetsyDeVosED you have no plan. Teachers, kids and parents are fearing for their lives. You point to a private sector that has put profits over people and claimed the lives of thousands of essential workers. I wouldn’t trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child.”

Pressley’s tweet came in response to remarks DeVos made in an interview on CNN’s “State of The Union” with Dana Bash where she mostly danced around specific questions as to how states can ensure the safety of kids and staff this fall. Instead, DeVos used the same talking points as Trump has in recent weeks. “The key is that kids have to get back to school. Where there are little flare-ups or hot spots, that can be dealt with on a school-by-school or a case-by-case basis,” she said, “but the rule should be that kids go back to school this fall.”

Bash also asked her if schools should be following CDC guidelines about measures that need to be in place in advance of schools opening for in-person teaching. To this, DeVos said, “The CDC guidelines are just that, meant to be flexible and meant to be applied as appropriate for the situation.”

Earlier in July, DeVos said she was considering cutting federal funding from schools that don’t reopen in the fall. “We are looking at this very seriously. This is a very serious issue across the country,” she said. Trump threatened to do the same in a tweet, saying, “The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!”

He also issued a threat of sorts to the CDC to change their initial guidelines, which he felt were “very tough, expensive” and “impractical.” The CDC changed their school reopening practices to be less “tough,” which we can only assume means they will be less safe as well.

“We know that children get the virus at a far lower rate than any other part of the population,” DeVos continued. “And again, there is nothing in the data that would suggest that kids being back in school is dangerous to them.”