Dear President-elect Joe Biden,

I want to begin this letter by congratulating you on a victory that I hope will serve as a moment of unification and progress for our country. You and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will make a formidable duo in confronting one of the most challenging periods in American history.

During the past four years, President Donald Trump fueled division with incessant, hateful rhetoric. And while your predecessor certainly made his mark, you have the unique opportunity to rectify his actions as president.

As a French-American, this pandemic brought me many moments of reflection about the differences between the two countries – one being the perception of education in both countries.

France endured a series of lockdowns – like many European countries –– in efforts to combat the seemingly incessant surges in COVID-19 cases. Despite France’s third wave, schools have remained open; a testament to France’s prioritization of schools over gyms and other non-essential businesses.

Protective guidelines such as mask mandates, social distancing and air ventilation in schools have proven to be adequate measures in keeping transmission rates down once the COVID-19 caseload has declined to a lower risk level.

While cases skyrocket, I urge you to close the non-essential businesses and prioritize the schooling of the tens of millions of young Americans. Imposing nation-wide restrictions –– or even a lockdown –– will undoubtedly be unpopular, but it is the right thing to do.

Online education simply does not foster the same learning environment that in-person learning does. My experiences of online learning consist of people apprehensive to turn on their cameras or to speak when called upon, and utterly silent Zoom breakout rooms. Few students, if any at all, are motivated to learn in this environment.

Regardless of the pandemic, the current education system is critically under-supported. And though Palo Alto Unified School District students benefit from one of the best public school districts in the country, we must continue to advocate for improvement in educational standards all around.


A country cannot call itself the “greatest country in the world” when it spends 10 times more money on “defense” than education.


Of the many ways this country has regressed since Trump’s election is in the Department of Education’s efforts to weaken public schools by cutting funds and undermining protective federal education laws.

The duty to promote the safe re-opening of schools and the (overdue) development of the American education system now falls on you.

Your promise to fiscally support schools during the pandemic should extend well beyond the burdens of COVID-19.

A country cannot call itself the “greatest country in the world” when it spends 10 times more money on “defense” than education.

You have the chance to remedy the mistakes of your predecessor and I look forward to seeing you make this country a more perfect union.

Sincerely,

Sebastian Bonnard

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