State Watch

Conservative group launches ad series pressing for school reopenings

Empty Chicago school

The State Government Leadership Foundation (SGLF) and N2 America are rolling out an ad campaign Thursday to press Democrats to support reopening schools that were shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic.

The six-figure ad blitz from the two conservative groups will air on local cable in Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia and the District of Columbia and be featured online. The campaign comes amid a mushrooming push by Republicans hitting Democrats over what they say is an overly cautious approach to allowing schools to open their doors. 

“Education policy should be guided by one key principle — what’s best for the kids. Instead, it’s been about what’s best for everyone else, including liberal politicians that would rather turn their backs on the children they are supposed to serve than muster the courage to stand up to their union bosses,” said SGLF Executive Director Dee Duncan. 

A 30-second spot airing Thursday, the first in the ad campaign, accuses Democrats of being beholden to teachers’ unions that have supported a restrained approach to reopening schools and of overlooking evidence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that schools can safely resume in-person classes.

“What don’t they understand? For kids, school is everything. School is learning, lunch period, friends, the big game. School is where our future starts. The CDC, the science, and the experts say schools can safely open. There’s little talk about what’s best for us,” says a narrator. “Unions and politicians seem more concerned about what’s best for them. The failures won’t go unnoticed, because what’s happening is real. It’s time to let kids learn.” 

The ad campaign is just one of many targeting Democrats. The National Republican Senatorial Committee announced Wednesday that it is launching its own digital ads targeting Democratic senators who are up for reelection in 2022 on the issue.

Republican criticism of Democrats’ handling of school reopenings has ramped up since President Biden’s inauguration. He has said he will listen to the scientists and urged the country to not rush students back into the classroom.

The Biden administration had previously said its goal was to have most schools open for at least one day of in-person learning each week, though critics noted that the goal had largely already been reached. The president clarified Tuesday that his goal is to have the majority of elementary and middle schools physically reopened five days a week by the end of his first 100 days in office.

However, Republican criticism of the administration has grown since the CDC said this month it is “critical for schools to open as safely and as soon as possible,” given the benefits of in-person learning. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky also earlier said that “the science has demonstrated that schools can reopen safely prior to all teachers being vaccinated” for the coronavirus.

“We need our leaders to stand up and follow the science, follow the data. If they do, the solution is clear: it’s safe for our kids to be back in the classroom full time,” said N2 America Co-Founder Liesl Hickey.

Tags Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Joe Biden Rochelle Walensky school reopening

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