The goal drew criticism from Republicans who said Biden is setting the bar too low. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called it unacceptable and said schools are ready to open now. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., a former teacher, said the goal falls short of what students need.
“Having only 51% of our schools reopen for as little as one day a week is not a ‘success,’” she said. “We should be working to safely get all of our children back to full-time, in-person learning”
With the new caveat, the pledge appears much less ambitious than what Biden signaled when he first made it. In December, it seemed his promise was to reopen half of the nation’s more than 130,000 schools. When it was narrowed to K-8 schools only, the scope decreased to include the roughly 90,000 schools below high school.
Now, critics say, the goal has been moved so low it may already have been met. Data from Burbio, a service that tracks school opening plans, recently reported that 58% of K-12 students are learning in-person to some degree.