“Maybe you need a children’s union to compete with the teachers union, because the children need to be represented,” Scalise said during a recent interview with the John Solomon Reports podcast.
“So many millions of children right now are being denied future opportunity because their local [teachers] union is standing in the way of those parents being able to send their kids back to school safely,” he added. “And it can be done. The guidance and the science is there. The will needs to be there too.”
Schools have reopened in all 50 states since the nationwide shutdowns in March 2020 over COVID-19, but some remain closed to in-person classes as unions representing teachers allege the need for strong changes before a return to classrooms.
Scalise has repeatedly pushed for schools to reopen and accused President Joe Biden of siding with unions over kids.
Last week, he highlighted on Twitter White House press secretary Jen Psaki calling a question about whether the president would choose children or unions “a little bit unfair.” Scalise wrote, “I will answer it directly: I chose kids over teachers union—schools need to be open.”
Psaki has said Biden supports reopening schools but wants the reopenings to be safe.
She told reporters in Washington Tuesday that he wants over half of the schools nationwide to reopen “at least one day a week” by the 100th day of his presidency.
“His goal that he set is to have the majority of schools—so, more than 50 percent—open by day 100 of his presidency. And that means some teaching in classrooms. So, at least one day a week,” she said. “Hopefully, it’s more. And obviously, it is as much as is safe in each school and local district.”
Biden while campaigning said he would push for schools to reopen during his first 100 days in office.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintained throughout the pandemic that it never recommended schools close and its new director told reporters last week that teachers did not need to be vaccinated in order to safely return to classrooms.
The agency under the Biden administration plans to release official guidance on reopenings soon after scrapping previous guidance issued under the previous administration.
Schools in one big city will reopen soon after the union and leadership reached a deal following weeks of negotiation.
Chicago officials and union leaders announced on Wednesday the agreement after clashing over proposed return dates since earlier this year.