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Just a Coincidence? Richmond Schools Give Teachers Full Week Off During Election

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

The credibility of teachers and the unions that protect them have plummeted fast over the past 20 months, as education leaders overwhelmingly refused to sacrifice the way most Americans did, all the while still getting paid.

Being catered to by the government is just one aspect of the unholy mix of public education with COVID-19 politics.

On Wednesday night, schools in Richmond, Va., abruptly decided to close down the entire first week of November for employee “mental health.”

Teachers and students already were granted Election Day off, with Thursday a day off for “Diwali,” and Friday no school due to virtual parent/teacher conferences. Now Monday and Wednesday — the days before and after Election Day, Nov. 2 — also will see shuttered classrooms.

“After very careful consideration, I made this decision because I think it’s essential for our employees’ mental health,” Superintendent Jason Kamras wrote. “And because of their mental health, I worry about significant staff absences on November 1 and 3, which could make it very difficult for us to follow our COVID-19 distancing protocols, putting student and staff health in jeopardy. Teachers have been feeling just an incredible level of stress, anxiety, exhaustion. This is about trying to reduce as much of that as we can.”

This is the epitome of what angers people about today’s failing public schools.

It’s appallingly short notice, as many parents noticed; it prioritizes teachers over children, as usual; it acknowledges that teachers are failing to do their jobs and cannot cope with their already shortened schedules; and, for good measure, Kamras tosses in some woke balderdash that “many of our students faced multiple pandemics before COVID-19: poverty, racism, gun violence, and more.”

With school boards and curricula being a major topic in the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial race, this is convenient timing for Democrat nominee Terry McAuliffe, but also lends credence to the policy proposals and criticism Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin has, as he narrows the lead.

McAuliffe, who like most Democrats receives a lot of out-of-state money, has seemed abrasive and confused lately on the trail.

Related: Here’s What Terry McAuliffe Said About the Legitimacy of Bush’s Win

Everyone knows McAuliffe’s most ardent backers are public school bureaucrats, unions, and teachers. Now, while still being paid by taxpayers not to work, they’re suddenly free to help get the vote out one day before the election.

Is it suspicious timing or only a coincidence? To be cynical about this decision does not make one conspiratorial.