August 5, 2020

NO, BUT IT MIGHT TEACH THEM A THING OR TWO: I’m a Nurse in New York. Teachers Should Do Their Jobs, Just Like I Did. Schools are essential to the functioning of our society, and that makes teachers essential workers.

So I can understand that teachers are nervous about returning to school. But they should take a cue from their fellow essential workers and do their job. Even people who think there’s a fundamental difference between a nurse and a teacher in a pandemic must realize that there isn’t one between a grocery-store worker and a teacher, in terms of obligation. People who work at grocery stores in no way signed up to expose themselves to disease, but we expected them to go to work, and they did. If they had not, society would have collapsed. What do teachers think will happen if working parents cannot send their children to school? Life as we know it simply will not go on.

When some of my husband’s students told him that they had continued working as cashiers throughout the spring and summer, he said, “Wow, that’s so courageous of you.” He feels that he doesn’t really have anything to show for himself, and he looks forward to the time when he will. Now, contemplating the possibility of teachers striking, he says, “Bowing out wouldn’t be a good example to set for our students.”

Or maybe teachers aren’t essential. But is that the message they want to send? The currrent combination of entitlement, politicization, and greed isn’t a good look, especially for an industry that’s facing technological disruption.

UPDATE: In show of ‘resistance,’ teachers unions demand police-free schools, moratorium on voucher programs. They also want a suspension of charter schools and a new tax on billionaires. Fuck this. Fire them all and give the money to parents. You think that won’t be more popular than giving it to teachers and educrats?

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