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White House takes flak for shifting blame to Republicans for school closings

Many students are struggling academically and socially after returning to school following two years of lockdowns and hybrid learning. Leading experts continue to criticize the Biden administration days after it attempted to shift blame to Republicans.

“It really is quite startling for the White House press secretary to blame the Trump administration for closed schools during the pandemic,” Jeffrey McCall, a professor and media commentator at DePauw University, told Fox News Digital.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre fielded a question last week about the National Assessment of Educational Progress showing a steep decline among 9-year-old students in reading and math scores during the COVID pandemic. A reporter wanted to know what the Biden administration planned to do, and asked if the White House shouldered any blame after failing to push for schools to open sooner.

“Let’s step back to where we were not too long ago when this president walked into this administration, how mismanaged the response to the pandemic was, how… in less than six months, our schools went from 46 percent open to nearly all of them being open full time,” she said. “That was the work of this president.

“That was the work of Democrats in spite of Republicans not voting for the American Rescue Plan, which $130 billion went to schools to have the ventilation, to be able to have the tutoring and the teachers, and be able to hire more teachers and that was because of the work that this administration did. We were in a place where schools were not open, the economy was shut down, businesses were shut down.”

Cornell Law School professor William A. Jacobson said Democrats “bear the responsibility for the enormous damage done to children from the prolonged school shutdowns” and that the Biden administration is being dishonest. “The White House has declared war not only on ‘MAGA Republicans’ but also on the truth,” he said.

Political pundit Stephen L. Miler shared a video of Jean-Pierre’s response and called on Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler to “get to work” before sharing a collection of mainstream media headlines that contradict the press secretary.

Many critics pointed to videos of then President Donald Trump calling for districts to be reopened and other videos of Democrats in Washington who criticized him for doing so.  Emails also surfaced last week between the nation’s teachers’ unions and the Department of Education and CDC in which the unions demanded that schools remain closed.

–Wire services