Columns

The Science-Denying Teachers' Unions and Their War on Children

Teachers, parents and children march in the Brooklyn borough of New York to protest the reopening of city public schools amid the threat of a teachers strike, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

COVID-19 is not spreading in schools that are open. According to research from overseas and here at home, the spread of the Chinese epidemic is not coming from the schools. NPR published that research in detail.

Some countries, such as Thailand and South Africa, fully opened when cases were low, with no apparent impact on transmission. Others, such as Vietnam and Gambia, had cases rising during summer break, yet those rates actually dropped after schools reopened. Japan, too, saw cases rise, and then fall again, all while schools were fully reopened. But the United Kingdom saw a strong upward trend that started around the time of reopening schools.

“We’re not saying at all that schools have nothing to do with cases,” Grob-Zakhary said. What the data suggests instead is that opening schools does not inevitably lead to increased case numbers.

What is certain is that children are suffering due to school closures.

“As a pediatrician, I am really seeing the negative impacts of these school closures on children,” Dr. Danielle Dooley, a medical director at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., told NPR. She ticked off mental health problems, hunger, obesity due to inactivity, missing routine medical care and the risk of child abuse — on top of the loss of education. “Going to school is really vital for children. They get their meals in school, their physical activity, their health care, their education, of course.”

Despite all evidence proving that open schools are a low risk to both students and teachers—and is necessary for the mental health of children—the science-denying teachers’ unions have only one goal: keeping schools shut down while they bargain for more perks for teachers. Using tasteless scare tactics like piling body bags up in front of schools to terrify parents has become their phony ploy to get more time off for the same amount of pay or more, as some have demanded “hazard pay.”

Because of the teachers’ unions’ selfish demands and insistence that teachers are not essential workers—but are in fact a higher class of worker than anyone else and should be protected from this virus even at the cost of the well-being of the children they teach—many schools across this nation have gone fully remote, bowing to the union bullies. Whenever I hear that teachers’ unions care about children my eyes get stuck in the back of my head from the vigorous rolling. If it were so, they would look at the facts and get back to work. The Washington Post reported the failure that distance learning has been.

In Houston, the number of students with failing grades is exploding. In St. Paul, Minn., a high school student is almost as likely to be on track to fail a class as pass it. In the junior high and high schools of Fairfax County — one of the wealthiest counties in the United States — 1 out of 10 students flunked at least two classes, and the number was almost double that for those with disabilities. Enrollment is falling in closed school districts from coast to coast and many points in between. Some children are exiting for private schools, or private pods. Others are simply MIA. In the vast majority of cases, remote learning is a poor substitute for in-person education — no matter what efforts are made, no matter how many teacher trainings are offered.
In my own house, my eldest daughter, who has to learn remotely half the time and in-person the other half, has struggled immensely in keeping up with homework. Direct communication with teachers is almost non-existent. Meanwhile, her younger siblings are thriving in their private school that is open five days a week. It sadly has no high school or the eldest would go there too. It’s time for this failed experiment to end. School is essential. If grocery store clerks are essential workers and have worked through this entire epidemic while never having widespread outbreaks in their stores, then schools should also be open and working full-steam ahead.
Conscripting parents into being part-time teachers is an unsustainable act of war against working families. It’s outrageous to me that the same people who have historically been rabidly against homeschooling are now in favor of forcing all of their students into homeschooling while still getting paid as if they are doing the teaching. New York Times:
With teachers relegated to computer screens, parents have to play teacher’s aide, hall monitor, counselor and cafeteria worker — all while trying to do their own jobs under extraordinary circumstances. Essential workers are in perhaps the toughest spot, especially if they are away from home during school hours, leaving just one parent, or no one at all, at home when students need them most.
School closures are a war on children perpetrated by the teacher’s unions. It must stop now. The only people who can stop it are the parents who pay for the schools. Massive protests stopped Monroe County in New York from going fully remote. While the unions may be powerful, the people hold the purse strings. It’s time to tell your public schools that they will open fully or the taxpayers will withhold their children and funds from the districts trying to sell distance learning as real education. Nobody is learning like this. It would be more beneficial to take the year off from school and teach kids survival skills than to do whatever it is we are doing—bleeding out our life-force on Zoom “school.”
The science has repeatedly shown that children and teachers are not at significant risk for spreading or contracting COVID during in-person school. In light of this research, why are teachers’ unions allowed to deny the science? And why aren’t they being labeled as “science-deniers” when they peddle outrageous lies about the dangers of COVID that are keeping schools shut down unnecessarily?
If this keeps up much longer, the effects on the mental health of our children will be more devastating than they already are. Some parents have already lost everything because of the unscientific garbage peddled by teachers’ unions that kept their children isolated and out of school. How many more have to lose their children before the people of this country make it stop? You have the power. Use it.