Why Some Of Our Schools Have Been Slow To Reopen

On Saturday, The New York Post posted an article about the influence of the Teachers’ Union on decisions that were made about reopening schools.

The article reports:

The American Federation of Teachers lobbied the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on, and even suggested language for, the federal agency’s school-reopening guidance released in February.

The powerful teachers union’s full-court press preceded the federal agency putting the brakes on a full re-opening of in-person classrooms, emails between top CDC, AFT and White House officials show.

The emails were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the conservative watchdog group Americans for Public Trust and provided to The Post.

The documents show a flurry of activity between CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, her top advisors and union officials — with Biden brass being looped in at the White House — in the days before the highly-anticipated Feb. 12 announcement on school-reopening guidelines.

“Thank you again for Friday’s rich discussion about forthcoming CDC guidance and for your openness to the suggestions made by our president, Randi Weingarten, and the AFT,” wrote AFT senior director for health issues Kelly Trautner in a Feb 1 email — which described the union as the CDC’s “thought partner.”

The article notes:

Dr. Monica Gandhi, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco who has written extensively on coronavirus, called the CDC-AFT emails “very, very troubling,”

“What seems strange to me here is there would be this very intimate back and forth including phone calls where this political group gets to help formulate scientific guidance for our major public health organization in the United State,” Gandhi told The Post. “This is not how science-based guidelines should work or be put together.”

The close communication between the union and the feds came despite repeated assurances from CDC and Biden officials that the medical guidelines would “follow the science” and be free of political interference.

The Teachers’ Union is right to be concerned about the welfare of its members. However, it should also be concerned about the well being of students. I suspect there were more things at work here than the welfare of teachers and students.

So What Is The Real Goal Here?

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article about the push by some teachers unions to delay the opening of the new school year.

The article reports:

The results from a study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine show that the only reason children are being kept from school due to the China coronavirus is politics.

The New England Journal of Medicine released the results of a study on the China coronavirus that are shocking.  Children have a very low risk of catching the China coronavirus.

Based on the study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the senior author concluded that:

“[E]ven if children do get infected, they are less likely to transmit the disease to others than adults. We have not found a single instance of a child infecting parents.“

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It includes a lot of data to support the idea of sending children back to school.

I understand the concern that teachers have for their own safety as well as the safety of their students. Students in the early years of school are little petri dishes for any bug that is anywhere in the vicinity. For whatever reason, this does not seem to be true of the coronavirus. However, it has been proven that children need socialization (and that socialization strengthens everyone’s immune system).

I think it is time to send the children back to school. Some of the problems people are having dealing with the partial and full shutdown of our society are related to having children not attending school. I don’t think the academics are the real concern here–I think children need the time interacting with their schoolmates as part of their growth process as people.

What Does This Have To Do With Educating Students?

Yesterday Just the News reported that the Los Angeles teachers union says schools can’t reopen unless charter schools get shut down and police defunded. Charter schools generally outperform public schools, so why are the teachers trying to shut them down?

The article reports:

A major teachers union is claiming that the re-opening of schools in its district cannot occur without several substantial policy provisions in place, including a “moratorium” on charter schools and the defunding of local police. 

United Teachers Los Angeles, a 35,000-strong union in the Los Angeles Unified School District, made those demands in a policy paper it released this week. The organization called on local authorities to “keep school campuses closed when the semester begins on Aug. 18.”

The union outlined numerous major provisions it says will be necessary to reopen schools again, including sequestering students in small groups throughout the school day, providing students with masks and other forms of protective equipment, and re-designing school layouts in order to facilitate “social distancing.” 

The article continues:

Police violence “is a leading cause of death and trauma for Black people, and is a serious public health and moral issue,” the union writes. The document calls on authorities to “shift the astronomical amount of money devoted to policing, to education and other essential needs such as housing and public health.”

“Privately operated, publicly funded charter schools,” meanwhile, “drain resources from district schools,” the union states. The practice of “colocating” charter schools in existing structures, it continues, “adds students to campuses when we need to reduce the number of students to allow for physical distancing.”

The union also demands the implementation of a federal Medicare-for-All program, several new state-level taxes on wealthy people, and a “federal bailout” of the school district.

“The benefits to restarting physical schools must outweigh the risks, especially for our most vulnerable students and school communities,” the document continues.

“As it stands, the only people guaranteed to benefit from the premature physical reopening of schools amidst a rapidly accelerating pandemic are billionaires and the politicians they’ve purchased,” it adds.

I want teachers and students to be safe when schools open. I think we all do. However, the teachers union has overlooked the negative impact on the students as a result of the schools being closed during the end of the last school year. They have also overlooked the fact that many foreign countries have had their schools open for a while without any negative results. They are also overreaching into political issues that have nothing to do with education. I wonder if the teachers who are members of the teachers’ union agree with the demands that their union is making.