The White House's attempts to blame former President Donald Trump for a dramatic fall in math and reading scores for 9-year-olds after the first two years of the pandemic is an "absolutely shameful rewrite of history," Angela Morabito, a former press secretary under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, tells Newsmax.
"We were the ones who were trusting the science in the summer of 2020," she said on Newsmax's "National Report." "The CDC came out and said the best place for kids to be is in their schools, and that's what we fought so hard for."
The federal study, released Thursday by the National Center for Education Statistics, a branch of the U.S. Education Department, shows that math scores for 9-year-old students dropped by 7 percentage points between 2020 and 2022, and the average reading score dropped by 5 points.
Morabito said the numbers point to an "absolute tragedy" for the students and noted that it was the teachers' unions that were pushing to keep children out of classes over COVID, not the Trump White House.
She added that she thinks the students can make up for the time they lost, but it will take a "tremendous effort" by state and local school systems and she doesn't know if the "political will" is there.
The nation's school systems do have the money to make changes, said Morabito, as Congress has allocated more than $189 billion to get schools up and running again and to help with learning loss, but she said most of the states are not spending their money.
"As of the end of June, which is the most recent date for which we have data, not a single state has spent more than half of its allocation," she said. "The resources are there to provide additional instruction time, including tutoring to make this happen for kids."
Parents have also been warning school systems that at-home learning was hurting their children's educations, particularly in math and reading skills, meaning there is "no doubt there's dissatisfaction with public education, said Morabito.
"I think the answer here is school choice," she said. "Parents need options."
The losses were not spread evenly, either, said Morabito, as they showed children from lower-income or minority homes suffered the most and were most likely "to be trapped in failing government-run schools."
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