While most parents in Sacramento County, California, are still struggling to educate their children with public schools remaining closed, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) announced his kids are returning to in-person learning at their fancy private school.
Politico reported that “Newsom’s children attend a private school in Sacramento County that has a hybrid schedule that alternates remote and in-person education before it will return full-time next month, according to a source.”
Many public schools in the county will not be following the same return to in-person learning that the private school where Newsom’s kids attend will, the outlet reported.
“Sacramento County schools are allowed to open classrooms under Newsom’s reopening system. But the county’s large public school districts — including San Juan Unified, which serves Newsom’s neighborhood — have yet to do so. Some Sacramento County districts plan to reopen elementary schools next month, while San Juan has a January goal date. Sacramento City Unified has yet to propose a reopening date,” Politico reported.
Newsom was asked about his own children’s education on Friday. He answered: “They’re phasing back into school and we are phasing out of our very challenging distance learning that we’ve been doing, so many parents are doing up and down the state.”
More from Politico:
This week, California assemblymembers demanded more specific action from Newsom and state officials on school reopening, emphasizing testing capacity. The ability to routinely test students and staff has been a sticking point for teachers across the state who say it’s not yet safe to reopen classrooms.
In 21 of the state’s 58 counties, all school districts are either offering some form of in-person instruction or planning to do so soon, according to an EdSource analysis released Friday.
Newsom pointed to $5.3 billion in state and federal funding for schools to respond to Covid-19 and two months worth of PPE given to districts by the state.
Newsom said he wanted schools to open soon but that it was the local districts making the decisions.
“We absolutely believe that the social-emotional learning that occurs in the classroom is the best place for our kids, certainly the best place for their parents as well. And so it is absolutely incumbent to do everything in our power to provide support to our districts so that they can safely reopen, emphasis on safely reopen,” he said.
As Politico noted, there are concerns about an achievement gap between wealthy students, like Newsom’s, who can attend private schools and those who can’t.
Pradheep Shanker, a radiologist and public health policy expert, said on Twitter that the “rich and elite will have children that will advance far more than those in public schools…and years from now, we will wonder with great concern about why we have a massive income gap…”
Should other local schools remain closed while Newsom’s children get a full education, he could face pressure to reopen public schools and face a backlash from residents.