Teachers playing hooky instead of students about sums up Chicago.
The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) instructed its 25,000 or so members not to show up for work this week. All but about 10 percent abided. In usurping the decision-making power of Pedro Martinez, the head of the Chicago Public Schools (not of “Yankees my daddy” fame), the union raises the question of who really runs our schools.
Last fall in Virginia, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe gaffed, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Chicago Democrats, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot, apparently learned from that blunder. Whatever she thinks about parents telling schools what to teach, she apparently doesn’t think teachers should tell schools that they cannot open.
“The CTU doesn’t make decisions about how our [Chicago Public Schools] system works,” Lightfoot explained this week. “The CEO does. He’s the boss.”
Is he really?
Bosses usually fire employees who repeatedly skip work. “If you want to be compensated, you have to show up for work,” the CEO, Pedro “Teachers My Daddy” Martinez, answered a reporter this week. “It’s really that simple.”
Neither any teacher nor Martinez needs a lie-detector test to know that the teachers ultimately receive paychecks no matter what. A name exists for people who can skip work without fear of losing a check or landing in the unemployment line: boss.
The bosses, or at least the union leaders they pay tithes to, dubbed schools unsafe in the wake of an uptick in COVID-19 that set records this week in Illinois for cases and hospitalizations. But they skipped school for that noblest of reasons. They did it for the children.
“To the parents and guardians of this city, we want you to know that when you put your children in our care we put their well-being and safety first,” the CTU announced. “We fight for your children like they are our own, because they are. As this pandemic continues, we will do everything in our power to ensure that our classrooms are the safest and healthiest places for your children to learn, thrive and grow.”
But children in Chicago face a greater risk of death from shootings and traffic accidents than COVID. Why shut down the schools for something life-threatening for a tiny fraction of kids when far greater dangers have always surrounded? And why demand, amid a nationwide test-kit shortage, widespread testing requirements from the very demographic least threatened by coronavirus?
In Illinois, where COVID-19 took the lives of 28,156 people, it factored into the deaths of just 29 people under the age of 20 over the last two years. In other words, about 1 in 1,000 COVID-related deaths in the state occurred among the school-age population. This actually downplays the risks to schoolchildren as that particular demographic that died the least from COVID tested positive for it the most. So, of the 467,394 positive tests for Illinois kids 19 and under, 29 died. That means one in every 16,117 kids who tested positive for the disease died from complications at least partly attributable to it.
Teachers, school thyself.
Piling on Chicago as the place that annually releases dozens of charged felons on the streets to allegedly murder but forbids children from attending school seems accurate but easy. Milwaukee, Washington, D.C., and points beyond also closed schools because of COVID concerns this past week.
Not just Lori Lightfoot but even the New York Times now grasps the damage done to children by selfish adults ostensibly in the name of coronavirus precautions.
“They have accepted more harm to children in exchange for less harm to adults, often without acknowledging the dilemma or assessing which decisions lead to less overall harm,” David Leonhardt, citing falling test scores, rising suicide attempts, and other problems among youth, wrote earlier this week. “Given the choices that the country has made, it should not be surprising that children are suffering so much.”
Beware of COVID. Beware of adults proclaiming, “It’s for the children.”