The Corner

Education

Putting Kids Back in School Shouldn’t Cost as Much as the Marshall Plan

An eye-opening number from this piece by Corey DeAngelis and Christos Makridis in the Wall Street Journal: the Democratic Party Christmas tree of spending giveaways being incorrectly described as Biden’s COVID-relief package is giving a mind-boggling $123 billion to public schools, supposedly for “safety measures” so they can reopen. There remains unspent $54 billion for the schools from the last “relief package,” passed in December, plus there was $13 billion set aside for the schools in the initial COVID spending bill last spring. The entire Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe cost about $12 billion in 1948, or about $139 billion today, if you adjust for inflation. How on earth are schools going to find wise ways to spend $190 billion on top of their ordinary budgets in supposed COVID-proofing? Only 5 percent of this money is going to be spent this year anyway, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

There is very little evidence that the virus is readily being transmitted in schools, but even the most risk-averse analysis should agree that once the teachers are vaccinated, the schools should reopen, and that task will be completed this spring, excepting only the teachers who refuse to get vaccinated. Democrats in the Senate blocked an amendment that would have made funding conditional on schools ensuring that their teachers were vaccinated. Vaccinations are the key, and they aren’t costing the school systems much, if anything. And by what reasoning should teachers who refuse a vaccination be allowed to continue in their jobs?

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