A University of Pennsylvania study estimates that each month of school closures costs students between $12,000 and $15,000 in future earnings. The earnings hit will be greatest for minority and poor children in cities. Private and suburban schools that aren’t controlled by unions have managed to reopen safely, though not because they have more money.

Congress last year appropriated $68 billion in Covid relief for K-12 schools, but they have spent only $4 billion. Although parochial schools enroll large numbers of low- and middle-income kids, they have been mostly excluded from federal relief funds. Now Democrats in Congress plan to send public schools another $130 billion—whether they open or not.

If Mr. Biden really wants to lead, he’d use his bully pulpit to say school districts that don’t reopen classrooms won’t get the money. Instead we get Ms. Psaki defining classroom instruction down. This ridiculous standard for success is what George W. Bush once called the soft bigotry of low expectations.