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Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl knocks Trump, Devos over push to reopen schools: ‘Teachers want to teach, not die’

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Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl is taking aim at President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over their push to have schools resume in-person classes in the fall amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, saying “teachers want to teach, not die.”

In a piece published by The Atlantic this week, Grohl, who pointed out in the essay that his mother was a teacher, said that today’s educators “are caught in a trap” as a nationwide discussion around how and when schools should resume in-person classes in the midst of an pandemic have grown increasingly politicized. 

“Every teacher has a ‘plan.’ Don’t they deserve one too? My mother had to come up with three separate lesson plans every single day (public speaking, AP English, and English 10), because that’s what teachers do: They provide you with the necessary tools to survive. Who is providing them with a set of their own?” he wrote.

{mosads}While he acknowledged in his essay that remote learning is not a permanent solution to the novel coronavirus outbreak, he also stressed the dangers of schools prematurely resuming in-person classes.

“But as much as Donald Trump’s conductor-less orchestra would love to see the country prematurely open schools in the name of rosy optics … it would be foolish to do so at the expense of our children, teachers, and schools,” Grohl said.

His essay comes after Trump and DeVos have threatened to hold back federal funding from schools that fail to resume in-person classes in the fall. However, it’s not clear how much funding the Trump administration would be able to withhold in this case, given that Congress is tasked with appropriating federal funding, and most of public schools’ budgets come from state and local taxes.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website that kids “do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults,” Grohl noted in his essay that “many career teachers, administrators, cafeteria workers, nurses, and janitors are older and at higher risk.”

“Every school’s working faculty is a considerable percentage of its population, and should be safeguarded appropriately. I can only imagine if my mother were now forced to return to a stuffy, windowless classroom. What would we learn from that lesson? When I ask what she would do, my mother replies, ‘Remote learning for the time being,’” he continued.

In a swipe toward DeVos, Grohl, who was also the drummer of Nirvana, wrote: “I wouldn’t trust the U.S. secretary of percussion to tell me how to play ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ if they had never sat behind a drum set, so why should any teacher trust Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to tell them how to teach, without her ever having sat at the head of a class? (Maybe she should switch to the drums.)”

“Until you have spent countless days in a classroom devoting your time and energy to becoming that lifelong mentor to generations of otherwise disengaged students, you must listen to those who have. Teachers want to teach, not die, and we should support and protect them like the national treasures that they are. For without them, where would we be?” he added.

Tags Betsy DeVos Coronavirus Dave Grohl Donald Trump Foo Fighters Nirvana The Atlantic

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