Yesterday, the Hillsborough County School District (Tampa and ‘burbs) made masks mandatory for teachers and staff in defiance of Governor RegeneRon* DeSantis’s edict that schools can’t enforce mask mandates and defunding threats. Hillsborough County schools opened a week ago Tuesday, and there are already more than 8,000 kids and staff in quarantine, so they had to do something.
Alachua County (Gainesville) and Broward (Ft. Lauderdale, etc.) already had mandates in place. Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County also joined the party, so the biggest districts in the state are telling Ron to stuff it, applying their long experience with schoolyard bullies. The Biden admin has their backs: [EdWeek]
The Biden administration stands ready to investigate civil rights complaints from families concerned that restrictions on masking in schools violate their children’s rights to a free and appropriate public education, U.S. Education Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said Wednesday.
The statement came the same day as a memorandum from President Joe Biden that directs the U.S. Department of Education to “use all available tools to ensure that governors and other officials are providing a safe return to in-person learning for the nation’s children.”
“This isn’t about politics,” Biden said in a White House address Wednesday afternoon. “It’s about keeping our children safe. It’s about taking on the virus together, united. I’ve made it clear that I will stand with those who are trying to do the right thing.”
Biden also reprised the White House line debuted a few weeks back when DeSantis, Abbott & Co. first began huffing and puffing about mask mandates: If you’re not going to help us fight the virus, at least get out of the way. Every Democrat who gets within six feet of a microphone should hammer that message.
One of our perennial challenges as the one party that’s interested in governance in a two-party system is that it’s easier to tear shit down than build things. As we’re seeing from coverage of the situation in Afghanistan, it’s also easier to shit all over someone else’s actions than offer better alternatives, and with the Beltway media stuck on stupid, that’s a built-in advantage for Republicans.
But let us also keep in mind that the easier task, i.e., tearing shit down, can apply to Republicans like DeSantis and Abbott, who are taking deeply unpopular, politically motivated actions in the middle of a public health crisis. We should tear those motherfuckers down for it, every single day.
*DeSantis’s Twitter feed is one long, tedious monoclonal antibodies informercial, and it turns out his top donor has a big stake in Regeneron Pharmaceutical, Inc. Shocked, shocked, etc.