DeSantis Refutes Reports Claiming School Closures Worse Than Anticipated: ‘No, That Was Fully Anticipated’

July 13, 2022 Updated 8:34 AM ET

Ron DeSantis June1

July 12, 2022 Updated 4:06 P.M. ET

ORLANDO (FLV) – Gov. Ron DeSantis said he “fully anticipated” the damage from school closures even though reports claimed the learning loss was worse than anyone expected.

“No, that was fully anticipated if you went down that road,” DeSantis explained. “I’m just thinking to myself, like, remote education, don’t tell me that’s a substitute. And honestly it’s disrespectful to classroom teachers who are in there doing the job.”

A crowd of teachers erupted in applause after his comment. The governor spoke at the Florida Teacher of the Year Conference Tuesday afternoon.

DeSantis also cheered the Florida Department of Education for “leading the way” in education during the coronavirus pandemic. Florida was one of the first states to offer in-person instruction, even though the governor received backlash at the time.  

“If you want to do remote, that’s your choice but at the end of the day, we need to have that option available for people,” DeSantis said. 

The governor mentioned a Harvard study that said learning loss for students at high-poverty schools was not as high in Florida compared to other states because the Sunshine State remained largely in-person during the pandemic. 

“And that is going to make a huge impact on this generation and the next generation in this state,” the governor said. 

The governor also referred to a 2021 Quality Counts Report which ranked Florida as third in the nation for K-12 Achievement. 

“That doesn’t happen if it’s not for people like you doing the job every day,” he said. “And so we understand that, and we very much appreciate that.”

Florida’s budget includes record teacher pay and student investments. The budget raises per-student funding to $8,143. This is the highest amount of per-student funding in Florida’s history and is an increase of $710 since the 2018-2019 school year.

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