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Harder Pushes for Education Representative on Task Force to Reopen Economy

Modesto, CA – Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) today sent a letter to President Trump asking for the appointment of a member of the education community to the task force to reopen the economy. Over 50 million American kids and more than 3.5 million teachers will be impacted by decisions relating to reopening the country and the current membership could leave out their needs.

“It’s not just big corporations that need a say in these decisions – our country’s students and teachers need a voice,” said Rep. Harder. “This is a weird omission that the President could easily correct.”

“There is an absolute need to have a K-12 educational expert on the proposed task force to support student and staff transition back into the classroom setting to support long-standing and new learning and safe-guard everyone’s health,” said Superintendent Dana Trevethan of Turlock Unified School District. “It’s going to take a balance of mindfulness on relationships and academics to bring students and staff back to a safe place of well-being and education. 

The text of the letter is below and an original copy is available here.

President Trump,

Now that your administration has created a new task force to reopen the economy, it is critical to develop a knowledgeable team that can tackle this issue as effectively as possible. Given the impacts the Coronavirus pandemic has had on our nation’s school systems, I write to urge you to appoint to the task force at least one member focused exclusively on reopening our country’s K-12 and higher education school systems.

During this uncertain time, it is vital that we understand that reopening our local school systems, community colleges, and university campuses across the county will be an important factor in the economic recovery efforts undertaken by your administration. Appointing a task force member that can knowledgeably advocate on behalf of our students, teachers, faculty, and administrators will ensure a successful transition back into the classroom.

Students, teachers, faculty, and administrators in my district and across the country have had to endure the impacts of this virus. Many students across grade levels depend on our public school systems for food, housing, and mental healthcare and have faced unprecedented challenges in the wake of this pandemic. Additionally, it remains unclear as to what the reopening of our nation’s campuses will look like. Our K-12 and higher education leaders will face potential challenges such as staggered start times, smaller class sizes, and extra safety precautions regarding food preparation and transportation when these campuses are reopened. It is because of these challenges that we need an education expert appointed to advise your administration on how to most effectively bring students back to campus.

Our students, teachers, faculty, and administrators need to be considered in any economic recovery efforts, and that is why I urge you to include an education task force member to the new White House economic task force focused on reopening the economy.

I appreciate your consideration and look forward to your response.

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