California Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing backlash after he revealed last week that his children have returned to in-person learning at their private school in Sacramento County, while many public schools in the state remain closed under public health restrictions.
When directly asked during a press conference about his own children’s education, Newsom said that his children, who attend private school, are resuming in-person classes after months of remote learning due to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
“They’re phasing back into school, and we are phasing out of our very challenging distance learning that we’ve been doing, so many parents are doing up and down the state,” the Democratic governor said, adding that he believes children learn best in the classroom and his administration will provide resources school districts need for their safe reopening.
“We absolutely believe that the social-emotional learning that occurs in the classroom is the best place for our kids, certainly the best place for their parents as well,” Newsom said. “It is absolutely incumbent to do everything in our power to provide support to our districts so that they can safely reopen—emphasis on safely reopen.”
Newsom’s remarks were met with criticism over the weekend, with many pointing out that not all Californian parents have the same opportunity to send their children back to classrooms. In Sacramento County, where Newsom’s family resides, only some schools have opened. San Juan Unified, the county’s second largest public school district, said it won’t reopen for its over 50,000 students until January 2021. Sacramento City Unified, which serves about 49,000 students, has yet to come up with a reopening plan.
“California Governor Newsom is sending his 4 children to private schools with in-person instruction I’m glad his family has that opportunity All families should have that choice,” Corey DeAngelis, director of school choice at the libertarian think tank Reason Foundation, wrote on Twitter.
According to an Oct. 30 report by education news site EdSource, only 21 of California’s 58 counties are offering offering some form of in-person instruction for students or are planning to do so soon. In nine counties, including the highly populated Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, schools are going to rely on distance learning at least through January 1, 2021, as required by Newsom administration’s reopening guidelines.
“Kids across California are locked down at home, struggling to get an education,” California State Senator Melissa Melendez, a Republican, wrote on Twitter. “So glad Newsom has been relieved of his ‘challenging distance learning’ situation. Talk about white privilege.”