Op-Ed: If Liberals Actually Cared About Working Women, They Wouldn't Be Closing Schools


As students go back to school, teachers unions are moving heaven and earth to stand in the way of their education.

In California, union officials demanded high-income tax hikes as a condition for school reopening.

In New York City, a social justice caucus within the United Federation of Teachers threatened “severe disruption” if the governor and mayor implemented “reckless reopening plans.”

Teachers unions are also seizing the opportunity to lobby for police-free schools and ban new charter programs.

School choice, of course, threatens the traditional public education model, as parents and their children gain access to new educational options and improve their educational outcomes — outside the purview of dues-hungry union officials.

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Of course, America’s schools need to take all of the proper precautions before opening their doors.

During a pandemic, public health is a top priority. Even more importantly, individual responsibility dictates that we continue to wear masks and social distance to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

But we cannot allow anxiety, fear, and union interests to get in the way of childhood education.

By and large, schools can safely reopen, given that precautions are taken.

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According to the Netherlands’ National Institute for Public Health and Environment, children play a minor role in the spread of the coronavirus, with the virus mainly being spread between adults and from adult family members to their children.

Based on a recent French study, more than 60 percent of the parents of infected children had coronavirus, compared with only 7 percent of the parents of healthy ones.

We should be listening to medical professionals, not groups with ulterior motives. And the medical profession supports the reopening of schools.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, for example, “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains, “School closure disrupts the delivery of in-person instruction and critical services to children and families, which has negative individual and societal ramifications.”

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Those ramifications are especially negative for female entrepreneurs.

If children are forced to stay at home, women are often the ones who take care of them, disrupting their own professional careers.

People need to work, and entrepreneurs are no different.

In fact, the U.S. economy relies heavily on the 13 million small businesses owned by women, who employ over nine million workers. Women-owned firms account for about four in 10 private businesses.

From making sales to managing employees, running a small business is already difficult enough without the duties of 24/7 parenthood.

Keeping children out of school only makes a difficult task virtually impossible.

Even worse, the shuttering of schools may indirectly lead to the closure of many small businesses, especially those helmed by women strapped for time.

I’m a female entrepreneur myself, and I’m also a mother. The reopening of schools allows people like me to juggle the demands of small business ownership and parenthood, with time being our most valuable commodity — especially during a pandemic.

Without schools being open, that delicate ecosystem is thrown out of whack. And the economy is sure to suffer.

As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot erect additional obstacles for America’s entrepreneurs — men and women alike.

No matter what union officials may claim, our students need to be in school.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Erika Donalds is a small business owner, partner of the Job Creators Network Foundation, former elected school board member and founder of The Optima Foundation, which supports the establishment and expansion of superior-quality schools of choice.