This just in: Teachers unions are still as awful as they were before the coronavirus hit.
The single greatest force standing in the way of educational reform, school choice or performance-based pay for teachers is still making education worse for our children.
This time, teachers are protesting a school reopening plan in New York City.
This isn’t anything new. Teachers unions across the country have said they don’t want to return to the classroom. Many of them also are uncomfortable with online classes. So, in short, everything’s awful and strikes are on the table unless districts meet their demands — none of which, by the way, have anything to do with what’s best for their students or what risk those students run of catching or transmitting COVID-19.
The case of New York City feels a bit different because the shots are being called by Bill de Blasio’s administration, which isn’t exactly known for union-busting tactics.
In late July, Mayor de Blasio called for a “blended approach” of in-person schooling and online learning for “a vast majority of kids,” a plan that would have them in classrooms two or three days a week, according to the New York Post.
“You can certainly say, ‘Yeah, it’s gonna be tough, it’s gonna take a lot of work,’ ’’ de Blasio said.
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said they were making the call in late July because “we want to give some consistency to parents.
“We’re really dealing with … imperfect solutions,’’ he added.
Understandable. We’re all in this together. Except for members of the United Federation of Teachers, who cobbled together 200-odd members on Aug. 3 to march to the New York City Department of Education headquarters.
And were they ever subtle.
“The crafty group lugged a DIY yellow guillotine, with ‘DOE’ painted on the blade and ‘US’ written where the head would go,” the Post reported. “They also carried at least two boxes designed to look like coffins, with black cloth draped over them, and three handmade body bags.”
At least the arts teachers have been busy. Which is good; you don’t want your skills to get rusty.
The teachers might have been concerned about the dangers to their health in the classroom — although this was kind of funny when you consider the kind of social distancing being employed during the protest:
One thing you don’t notice here: social distancing.
Yes, I get it. Protests aren’t supposed to spread the coronavirus, even if you’re close together for an extended period of time.
The thing is, the risk to children isn’t great, either — but that didn’t stop teachers from playing it up.
“Children cannot focus on schoolwork if their family members or teachers are in the hospital or dying,” kindergarten teacher Frankie Cook told the Post.
“Children cannot learn if they’re dead.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children represented 0 to 0.4 percent of all COVID-19 deaths by state as of Aug. 6, and 19 states hadn’t reported a single child COVID death.
Furthermore, as CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield noted during a webinar earlier in the month, schools keep children healthy by providing child abuse reporting, mental health counseling and other services.
But don’t tell that to Frankie Cook.
“Schools will be like prisons,” the kindergarten teacher said. “Teachers’ main focus will be on enforcing health and safety because one slip could cause someone their lives.”
Just like how the slips in social distancing we’re seeing could cost one of these teachers their life, right?
We need our children back in schools. Safety measures can be taken to prevent outbreaks. And yes, teachers unions are still terrible.
Apparently, only the good things have changed under the “new normal.”
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