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AFT president 'very bullish' on Biden Admin's school reopening efforts

·2 min read
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U.S Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced on May 6 that as of March, 54% of K-8 schools were open for full-time in-person learning and 88% were open for either full-time in-person and/or hybrid learning, according to the NAEP Survey on School Reopening. However, many parents are choosing remote education options for their children.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, tells Yahoo Finance Live that in spite of some of the difficulties in reopening schools, she has seen first-hand that many kids feel safe and are happy to be back in school. 

“I think I’ve been to six schools that have been reopened for in-person learning in the last month. And this is what you see — Those people who are back in school and have actually gone through the safety routines and have gotten vaccinated, you see tremendous joy, you see joy with the kids, you see joy with educators and a sense with every passing day, where there are these kinds of protocols and people are safe, it creates more confidence.”

Schoolgirl with face mask using hands sanitizer while sitting at a desk in the classroom.
Schoolgirl with face mask using hands sanitizer while sitting at a desk in the classroom.

Though pleased with such progress, the AFT president did stress that more work needs to be done within the Black and Brown communities.

“We got to do the same thing now in terms of parents, particularly Black and Brown parents. Because you see a big difference between white parents who were more confident that schools could keep their kids safe and are sending their kids back and Black and Brown parents like in New York or Chicago, where they have been more reluctant. So we have to actually create the kind of trust that we’ve created with our own members and make back-to-school, back to school for everyone this fall.”

When it comes to the federal government’s efforts, Weingarten says that she is “very bullish” on what the administration has done to help reopen America’s schools.

“The Biden administration has been a game changer in terms of really using safety to reopen, having vaccine access and testing access. I think now with the news from Pfizer (PFE), that there’s going to be vaccine access for kids 12 to 16, that’s going to be a real, no-pun-intended, shot in the arm for normalcy.”

Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade

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