Former Education Secretary Dr. Bill Bennett said parents should seek other means of schooling before they "surrender" their children to those demanding a return to remote learning.
"Children come first, not last," Bennett said Thursday on "Fox News Primetime." "They have been a very neglected group over the last couple of years."
"There is a certain kind of surrender we are not allowed to practice in front of the young," he continued. "We cannot surrender ourselves. We cannot surrender our liberty and our freedom, and we cannot surrender them. Find the best education you can for your child that can you provide."
Schools across the country rushed to bring back remote learning amid a national surge in COVID-19 cases. Schools in Washington, D.C., Maine, New York, Virginia, Chicago, and North Carolina have either already switched to virtual learning or are considering closing their doors for in-person lessons.
Parents shouldn't tolerate the lack of regard district officials have for children suffering from school closures, Bennett said.
"See if you can go elsewhere," he added. "If this is the kind of regard they have for you and your children, knowing the circumstance it puts you in as a parent, particularly a single parent, and what this distance learning does for most children, they must not have much regard for you. Think about homeschooling. Think about a charter school. Think about sending your child elsewhere."
Americans must engage in a concept discussed by novelist Tom Wolfe known as "the great re-learning," he said.
"We have forgotten some of the first things that we need to now remember," Bennett said. "That schools are there to teach children how to read and write and count and think … The American people are saying, ‘We’re not taking this anymore.’"
The recent bout of school closures might "be the educational shakeup we need," he said.
"I do think the great re-learning is beginning. I think it’s beginning in earnest. People are tired of surrendering to the experts who have been so wrong."