During the next six weeks the nation’s 51 million public school students, with the assistance of their parents, would normally be preparing for the next phase of their education. This year, despite the absence of scientific data indicating that a return to in-person class attendance increases the risk that students or educators will contract COVID-19, the teachers’ unions are resisting school reopening. This flouts the will of parents whose taxes pay the teachers, disregards the failure of large-scale distance learning, and ignores the emotional damage children suffer pursuant to the social disruption that accompanies school closures. According to a recent Gallup survey, a clear majority of parents want schools reopened:
Fifty-six percent of parents with children who attend a K-12 school prefer their children’s instruction be fully in person this fall. Meanwhile, 37% prefer a hybrid program in which students attend school part time and do some distance learning, while 7% want full-time distance learning for their children.
In other words, most parents agree with President Trump’s position as he summarized it during his July 7 remarks concerning the urgent necessity of reopening the schools: “Everybody wants it. The moms want it, the dads want it, the kids want it. It’s time to do it.” Yet Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), published a column in Sunday’s edition of USA Today threatening to hold public school systems hostage until the taxpayers cough up a $116.5 billion ransom. She admits that this would constitute a 19 percent increase over pre-virus funding: “The average school will need an additional $1.2 million … above what we currently spend.”
Evidently, Weingarten is unable to see that brazen exploitation of the epidemic by AFT, combined with crazy demands to defund the police by affiliates like United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), is a political loser for her Democratic vassals — including their presidential nominee. The latter will be forced to defend the teachers’ unions while Trump increases pressure on him to choose between them and the children. If the schools aren’t open by Election Day, there will be Hell to pay for Biden. By that time, the parents (i.e. the voters) will exact a gruesome revenge at the ballot box. Yet our erstwhile vice president continues to bray pseudo-scientific balderdash such as this:
This year going back to school is going to look very different. And we know how hard it’s going to be for families all across the country.… Everyone wants our schools to reopen. The question is how to make it safe and how to make it stick. Forcing educators and students back into classrooms in areas where infection rates are going up or remaining too high is just plain dangerous.
This nonsense has been repeatedly debunked by epidemiologists such as John Ioannidis of Stanford University and Knut M. Wittkowski of Rockefeller University. Moreover, as Liz Harrington at Townhall reports, “Twenty-two European countries reopened their schools back in May, and it did not cause ‘any significant increase in coronavirus infections among children, parents, or staff.’ ” Scientific studies have been conducted in Germany, Ireland, and France that independently reached the same conclusion. The fear-mongering by teachers’ unions and Biden is about politics rather than science, as Dr. Scott Atlas of the Hoover Institution recently reiterated in an interview with KUSI News:
We know it’s factually true and proven all over the world that people under 18 have very little, if any, risk.… The data is clear. Whether it’s from Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Spain, the United States, Asia, all over the world.… Children almost never transmit the disease. In fact, Switzerland is contemplating stopping even testing children because it’s irrelevant.
The only real question that remains is the following: Why do teachers’ unions and Democratic politicians believe keeping schools closed is a winning issue for them? Presumably they think that, if the schools remain shuttered, millions of parents will be unable to return to work pursuant to the absence of child care. This would, according to the scenario, prevent the economy from recovering — a failure the Democrats hope voters will blame on President Trump. The problem with this plan is their assumption that the electorate is largely made up of morons, particularly Trump supporters. This is the same mistake the Democrats have been making about the voters since June 2015.
They assume that, when UTLA members refuse to return to work until the police force is defunded and charter schools are shut down, the voters can’t see that their actual agenda is unrelated to student safety. They really seem to believe that, when members of the Durham (N.C.) Association of Educators (DAE) decline to resume classroom teaching until Medicare for All and welfare benefits for illegal immigrants are enacted, the voters are unable to see that their goals are political rather than educational. They would have us believe that a lawsuit filed by the Florida Education Association (FEA) against GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis actually involves the state constitution’s safety requirements.
None of this passes the laugh test. There is no scientific data supporting the claims of teachers’ unions or Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden, that a return to in-person instruction increases the risk that students or educators will contract COVID-19. All of their sound and fury is about the November election, and it signifies nothing but partisan politics. Only 7 percent of parents want schools to remain closed. The other 93 percent want the “educators” to get off their posteriors and do their jobs. If they refuse to do so, and the Democrats support their intransigence, it will create a wave of resentment among the voters that President Trump will easily ride to a second term in the White House.