As more states are forcing students to go to virtual at-home learning to stop the spread of COVID-19, many children are suffering because of it, from worsening grades to poor mental health.
"The answer, of course, is get the kids back in school in person and it's something the president has been calling for, for months, as have I and others," Betsy DeVos, U.S. Education Secretary, told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on "Mornings with Maria."
DeVos pointed to the American Academy of Pediatrics saying months ago that the best place for kids to be during the pandemic is in school.
"This is no excuse," DeVos said. "The only reason kids are not back to school in person in too many places is because the teachers unions have been standing in the way and have been playing politics with children's lives."
For every day a child is not in school, she pointed out, their long-term prospects look worse and worse.
"Kids are suffering across the country, falling farther and farther behind and the ones who are most hurt are the ones who are most vulnerable: children with disabilities, children from low-income families," DeVos said.
"Those are the ones who we profess to want to be able to help and ensure that they have equal opportunities and yet they are the ones that are suffering most because their families don't have alternatives," she added. "It's a crime and it has to change. We have got to empower parents to make those decisions for their children because the schools and the systems they are a part of simply aren't cutting it."
Based on data, the education secretary said at least three million students are not even attending remote learning.
"This is an issue that the pandemic has laid bare. Our K-12 education system has been dysfunctional and broken for many students, for many years. Now is the time to change and empower those families to make the decisions for their children," DeVos concluded.