Teachers Unions Fail Science

Is your child’s school open now?

Probably not — because teachers unions say that reopening would “put their health and safety at risk.”

They keep schools closed by lobbying and protesting. “If I die from catching COVID-19 from being forced back into Pinellas County Schools, you can drop my dead body right here!” shouts one demonstrator in my new video.

But schools rarely spread COVID-19. Studies on tens of thousands of people found “no consistent relationship between in-person K-12 schooling and the spread of the coronavirus.”

Even Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, encouraged schools to reopen, saying “close the bars and keep the schools open.”

Heritage Foundation education researcher Lindsey Burke points out that studies in 191 countries find “no consistent link between reopening schools and increased rates of COVID transmission.”

She says schools aren’t COVID-19 hotspots.

“But it’s logical that they would be,” I push back. “Kids are bunched together.”

“Positivity rates in schools are generally below those in the broader community,” she says.

Closed schools hurt low-income students most because they have fewer learning alternatives. The privileged get around union restrictions.

Almost all of California’s government-run schools are closed, but California Governor Gavin Newsom’s sends his kids to a private school that stayed open.

“Choice for me, but not for thee!” quips Burke.

Kids blocked from attending school suffer more than academic losses, she adds. “Kids are social animals. A lack of their ability to interact in person, see their friends, see their teachers, is really having an impact.”

That’s not a good enough reason to open schools, say the unions. In my video, one San Antonio teacher argues: “We understand that in-person learning is more effective than online teaching, but that’s not the question. The question is what is safest.”

“But that’s really not at the heart of why unions are trying to keep schools closed,” says Burke. “It’s really a question of politics.”

Definitely. Union demands include all sorts of things unrelated to teacher safety. The Los Angeles union demands: defunding the police, a moratorium on charter schools, higher taxes on the wealthy and “Medicare for All.”

“The Oregon Education Association … said they wanted the state to halt any transfers to virtual charter schools,” says Burke. “There’s clearly no health issue in a virtual setting.”

It’s revealing that government-run schools fight to stay closed, while most businesses — private schools, restaurants, hair salons, gyms, etc., fight to be allowed to open.

Why is that? Burke points out that government schools “receive funding regardless of whether or not they reopen.”

So, union workers get paid even when they don’t work. Not working seems to be a big union goal.

At one point, LA teachers even secured a contract saying that they only are “required to provide instruction … four hours per day” and they will “not be required to teach classes using live video conferencing.”

Nice non-work if you can get it.

Yet, the teachers unions keep winning. They will win more now that Democrats control the federal government. Congress’ last stimulus package forbids any funds to be used to expand school choice: no “vouchers, tuition tax credit programs, education savings accounts, scholarship programs, or tuition assistance programs.”

So, students lose. Parents lose. Taxpayers lose. America loses.

Unions win.

We asked 21 teachers unions to respond to the criticisms in this column. Not one would.

Their behavior reveals their true interest: power and money. Students come third.

Image by Juraj Varga from Pixabay

10 thoughts on “Teachers Unions Fail Science

  1. You quoted one teacher: “If I die from catching COVID-19 from being forced back into Pinellas County Schools, you can drop my dead body right here!”
    Allow teachers who fear this should be allowed to resign. We certainly do not want a person scared at work to be forced to do so.

  2. My. Stossel, thank you for continuing your non-biased and factual journalism. I live in De Pere, WI, a sort-of suburb of Green Bay. All of our outlying schools, one not 5 minutes away, are open. Our school board and superintendent are solely responsible for keeping us shut down. They are an absolute feckless group, who have done absolutely nothing proactive in getting our schools open full time. ( We do go back to a blended scenario next week finally) There are numerous parent groups in many districts involved in writing and calling our districts to open, to no avail. Green Bay area public schools are also still virtual. There have been 2 teen suicides from other districts as well. My own kids are in counseling for depression and anxiety. Please, keep exposing the unions and the teachers that refuse to go to work. You are correct, this is not about our children and their future. It’s about control and politics. How do we stop such a machine?

  3. Keeping kids locked up at home is like putting a growing flower in a dark room. Especially since there’s virtually no risk to the kids, teachers — unlike firemen, police, health workers and grocer workers — have failed their professional responsibilities.

  4. I left elementary school in Sylmar Calif. in 1954. I was an extremely poor child of nomadic parents. Fortunately we stayed there two years. The education I received up until the sixth grade was excellent. I would say that I was, upon graduating from the sixth grade roughly equivalent to A college graduate. The foundation I received in elementary school together with only three years of junior high school equipped me well for the business world. I didn’t go to high school at all or college other than one or two night classes here and there. With this bare bones education I was able to become a relatively high-level executive in a company with billions in annual revenues. I have been comfortably retired for more than 20 years and to this day I keep a picture of my elementary school class on my desk to remind me of my good fortune and the dedication of my teacher Mrs. Cheek. I’m sure Mrs. Cheek would, without hesitation would be at work today. God rest her soul. BTW she promoted a deep appreciation of other cultures particularly Hispanic. That appreciation stayed with me always.

  5. Our Danbury, CT schools have not been in session since March! Complete educational neglect. Shortened virtual days, teachers pulled away from instruction time for “meetings,” overuse of videos and projects with a lack of live teaching – a complete disgrace. Our kids are NOT the priority, it is now a fight between the district and teachers union with kids losing out big time. Shameful!!! We MUST return to in person learning now with full days and 5 days per week.

  6. The teachers I know personally, now a small group as I’ve been retired for almost 20 years, would all prefer to be doing in person teaching. Elementary schools run on a very personal, active and interactive level. When those pieces are missing, everyone suffers. However, please remember, although children statistically do not spread nor contract Covid-19 as easily as adults and there are statistics to back this up, it is the ADULTS WHO ARE AT RISK in this situation. The statistics do not break out how many staff members have been absent due to the virus or exposure/quarantine. There are other mitigating circumstances that impact staff. Many teachers are older and more vulnerable. Those who aren’t often have young children at home who require hands-on care during the day if schools aren’t open. A teacher’s salary doesn’t cover the cost of all-day babysitting. If their children are in school, especially at the higher levels, they can be sent home and quarantined because of higher exposure rates for that age group.. Teachers/staff are having to take leave at a moment’s notice. There are NO substitutes to fill these voids! This is a multilayered issue that will be resolved when teachers/staff are able to have the vaccine. They should have been in the designated group right after first responders and then all schools would be open all the time!

  7. I used to teach Third Grade inter Los Angele Unified School District. I was forced into an early retirement June of 2011. I was told that I was being forced out because of my age, (58, at the time,) and religion, Christnächte.) I had also disobeyed 2 principals, who forbade me from using the U S CONSTITUTION when teaching social studies! When I queried their reasoning, I was told that the Constitution contradicted the state approved textbooks too much. I had also been told that I had taught my students more than I was “required to teach them,” which made my fellow teachers look bad!”
    Furthermore, I was told that it was “POLITICAL , to present both sides of a story’“ The only way to remain NON POLITICAL, was to teach only what hade been deemed PC!

  8. My neighbor is a Junior High principal. He is keeping careful tabs on the COVID situation. He said contract tracing has not found any likely transmissions at school since they started in person in September intil last week when 2 parents insisted their kids got it in school – before that none. In UT teachers are getting vaccinated already.

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