Thursday, February 25, 2021

Even the left is demanding schools be reopened

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Even many liberals and progressives now agree: Public schools need to open immediately for full-time, in-person classes, at least for the youngest kids. And teachers’ unions need to stop blocking the schoolhouse door.

“Children Need to Be Back in School Tomorrow,” fumes a recent op-ed headline in the left-leaning New York Times. “Teacher resistance is a disaster for the most vulnerable.”

“Teachers are vital public servants. Time for them to start acting like it,” huffs another in the similarly progressive Washington Post.

In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, is at war with the Chicago Teachers Union over getting schools reopened. Good for you, Mayor!

The science overwhelmingly supports reopening. Just last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged schools to let kids return, citing a “preponderance of available evidence” that it can be done safely. That echoes advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Evidence also shows teachers aren’t even at great risk, despite their opposition. That’s because young kids aren’t major sources of COVID spread, teachers who have medical issues can get exemptions and others can get vaccines.

Meanwhile, the damage from closed schools is mushrooming. Remote learning is a failure. Some studies say kids will never make up the lost time and may suffer financially, emotionally and physically over their lives. A Times story highlights the surge in teen suicides. Las Vegas saw so many that the Clark County district, the nation’s fifth largest, reopened schools largely as a result.

It’s not just kids suffering: At New York magazine, Angela Garbes describes the economic and psychological toll on women, mostly minorities, who need to stay home with their kids.

Yet teachers, who like the work-from-home model, and their unions are putting up fierce resistance to reopening. In Chicago, they’ve threatened to strike.

Alas, too many Democrats, from President Biden on down, won’t stand up to the unions. Biden, for example, has signaled support for the CTU and has already backpedaled on his pledge to open schools in 100 days (itself a needlessly long timeframe).

This is an utter disaster for kids and parents. Clearly it’s not an issue of left-vs.-right but teachers’-unions-vs.-families. Here’s hoping that voters make the Democrats selling out pay a price.

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