Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said in a press conference on Thursday that the scientific evidence supporting the return of school-aged children to the classroom is "overwhelming."
"The scientific evidence has been overwhelming, not only now but for months, that kids should be back in school," Paul said. "Even the most cautious of government experts are saying they should go back to school."
Many school districts across the United States have continued to force students to attend classes online rather than in person, a decision which has been heavily criticized by some health experts. Especially among younger children, the risk of spreading coronavirus in the classroom has been determined to be minimal.
Online classes have also been criticized by parents who have argued that their kids are not learning as well through online classes. Such claims have been substantiated by data showing that the number of failing grades given to students has skyrocketed as grades in general have fallen across the United States.
Some have additionally attributed an unprecedented spike in mental illness among young people to online learning, as students remain isolated from their friends.
Paul noted that in many countries stricken by coronavirus, children have been back in the classroom for months. To get kids back into the classroom, Paul introduced the School Act, a bill that would create school choice options for poor kids.
"So I've introduced today a bill called the SCHOOL Act," Paul stated, arguing that "competition" will help students get back in the classroom. "The SCHOOL Act says that if you have Title I's that follow a poor child, they should follow the poor child wherever they want to go. If there's a school that will not open and will not teach them, the poor child can go to a private school, religious school, wherever they want to go... The child can take those funds and go there."
"Right now, we don't have enough in-person learning in Kentucky, and I'm gonna do everything I can to get the schools open."
According to a press release issued by Paul, "[while] federal education dollars are currently sent to states and then distributed amongst public school districts, Dr. Paul's legislation would allow federal funds for K-12 education to follow the eligible child, learning in person or remotely, to the school of their choice.
"Whether in public school, private school, or homeschool, the funds can be used for a wide range of educational needs, including tuition, curriculum materials, technology, support for special education, or classes outside the home."
According to Paul, such legislation would force schools which remain closed to open up once they see students and their funds moving elsewhere.
"As families face the reality of hybrid learning or a completely virtual school year, students, especially those with disabilities, need a choice in education and the tools to succeed no matter where they are learning," the press release reads.