GOP lawmakers are incensed that San Diego school district teachers will be offering in-person education to migrant children before public school students, who are currently learning remotely.
Fox News first reported that San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) teachers can volunteer to teach migrant children being detained in the county during the week their own students are on Spring Break. The program will include English language development.
SDUSD students, of which there are roughly 130,000, are currently learning in an online-only format and are expected to move into a hybrid model on April 12, when they will be learning in a combination of in-person and online formats, according to the school district’s website.
“Democrats will let migrant children be taught in person but not your children,” House Republican Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., wrote on Twitter. “Their double standards are outrageous.”
“Only when Democrats are in charge would illegal migrants get in person instruction while Americans don’t. Your tax dollars hard at work!” wrote Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.
“This is just wrong,” GOP Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Calif., wrote on Twitter. “It’s been more than a year since millions of American students have stepped foot in a classroom, and now our kids are being put last once again.”
An SDUSD spokeswoman confirmed to Fox News the district has shared information about the opportunity for teachers to volunteer teaching migrant children in person during their spring break this week. She said she doesn’t know if teachers are getting paid, saying that it’s up to the county.
“The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) is providing the educational program for the unaccompanied migrant children who will be staying at the San Diego Convention Center through July. All children in California, regardless of immigration status, have a constitutional right to education,” an SDCOE spokesperson told Fox News in an emailed statement.
“The teachers who are participating in the program are doing so voluntarily, and the program is following a COVID-19 screening protocol based on guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
When asked about the matter, White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted “the context is important.”
“I believe they’re also on spring break right now. I am not sure if its volunteer, or paid, you’d have to ask a local school district, while the kids are on spring break, which, I think, the context is pretty important,” Psaki said.
Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., called the news “totally ridiculous and outrageous” on Facebook.
“We need to open our schools and close the border,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., wrote on Facebook.
“It’s outrageous that many American children have been deprived of in-person learning for over a year, but newly arrived migrant children will promptly receive it,” Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., wrote on Facebook. “Schools need to open now to get our children off zoom and back in the classroom.”
School reopening tracker Burbio reports that about 16.3% of U.S. public school students are attending “virtual-only,” 53.1% of students attend traditional in-person, five days a week schooling and 30.6% are learning in a hybrid format.
Fox News’ Peter Hasson contributed to this report.