President Joe Biden opened his State of the Union address Tuesday with, “Two years ago, COVID had shut down our businesses, closed our schools, and robbed us of so much. Today, COVID no longer controls our lives.”

While Biden now celebrates victory over COVID-19 and the ending of pandemic school closures, his appointees and poor leadership kept classrooms closed far longer than necessary.

The president claimed in a 2021 interview with “CBS Evening News” that closed schools were a “national emergency,” but his solution only included “well-ventilated rooms” and classrooms with very few students.

While Biden’s team promised “to have the majority of schools, so more than 50%, open by Day 100 of his presidency,” the administration later walked the definition of “open” back to include classrooms only open one day a week, hybrid virtual options, and testing proctor sites.

His appointees fared much worse.

Biden’s appointee for deputy secretary of education fought to keep the San Diego Unified School District locked down as superintendent. She refused to set a timeline for any schools to reopen.

Rochelle Walensky, Biden’s pick to head the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, collaborated behind closed doors with the American Federation of Teachers to change the CDC’s recommendation for school reopenings and other COVID-19 guidelines. Unions across the country would vote to keep classrooms virtual well into 2022.

Additionally, progressive groups like teachers unions and liberal media outlets constantly belittled those who desired for schools to reopen—accusing parents and students of racism, bigotry, and murder.

Then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo suggested children who went back to school might “kill grandma.”

Chicago Public Schools’ teachers union accused the desire to reopen schools as rooted in “sexism, racism and misogyny.”

Republican governors and parents’ rights activists fought, on the other hand, to reopen schools and keep them open. President Donald Trump came under considerable fire for suggesting governors “seriously consider” reopening schools in April 2020.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, announced recommendations to reopen Florida’s entire education system at “full capacity” in June 2020. He later slammed Biden over the sluggish national pace of schools reopening in 2021 as a “pathetic failure of leadership.”

Along with DeSantis, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, signed executive orders to forbid schools from enforcing mask mandates—actions that Biden’s Department of Education openly condemned.

Corey DeAngelis, a senior fellow at the American Federation for Children, told The Daily Signal:

Biden should rename himself the gaslighter-in-chief. Teachers unions—who own Democratic politicians—held children’s education hostage to secure multiple multibillion-dollar ransom payments from taxpayers. And it worked for them. The federal government allocated about $190 billion in so-called COVID relief to K-12 schools since March 2020. The push to keep schools closed was always more about politics and power than safety and the needs of children. Parents aren’t dumb. They’ll never forget how teachers unions hurt their children by fighting to keep schools closed for so long.

Biden may claim that he fought to reopen schools, but does so omitting the timeline and manner in which he advocated. Biden was well over a year behind Republicans in reopening schools—while appointing staff who directly opposed and obstructed the process of putting students back in classrooms.

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