Teachers’ unions do not want to re-open schools. I can think of some benefits for them from this stance, but mostly I think closed schools will hurt them.
I can think of three short-term reasons for leftists, in the form of teachers’ unions, to wage war on public schools:
1. President Trump wants to open the schools, so leftists reflexively oppose opening them.
2. Leftists think they can leverage school re-openings for political extortion. The Los Angeles teachers’ union is demanding, among many other things, that the city de-fund charter schools (their competition), raise taxes on the wealthy, and shrink class sizes by 50%. Meanwhile, in North Carolina, a teachers’ union is insisting that they won’t return to the classroom unless the state implemented universal healthcare for citizens and illegal aliens alike.
3. Having children at home puts enormous pressure on families. Single mothers can’t work at all. Two-parent families may be seeing their income shrink by 50%. This creates two possible responses:
The people who are mad with fear about the virus are also the people who think that Biden can actually make it all better. They’re true believers and they’ll accept without a trace of cynicism that the day after Biden’s election the madness will stop, not because this was all a political game but because the evil Trump will have been defeated.
Then there are the people who know this is all a con, intended to pressure people into voting for Biden. The way the con works is that, once Biden wins, the whole virus madness will end as swiftly as it did during the Black Lives Matter protests. These people want to vote for Trump, but they believe a vote for Biden is the only way to end this Democrat extortion.
The above three reasons, though, seem to me to be outweighed by a whole bunch of other factors:
1. There’s nothing conservatives want more than to see the end of public schools. Students stuck in bad districts don’t get educated at all and students in all districts are subject to non-stop leftist indoctrination. Additionally, the teachers’ unions are consistently the largest Democrat donors in most elections. Conservatives are sick of seeing their tax dollars go to Democrat politicians. If the teachers won’t teach, the schools might end and that would be a good thing. Let parents keep their money, with the law requiring only that they must educate their children to a certain standard. As my conservative mentor long ago said, some parents in the short term will make bad decisions, but the majority of parents want their children to thrive and they’ll make smart decisions. In any event, he said, nothing can be worse than a bad public school. (Those observations, incidentally, were what re-jiggered my thinking and started me on my long journey across the political Rubicon, from squishy Dem to conservative.)
2. Keeping kids out of school is really bad for them. We know that, unless they’re terribly immune-compromised or weak in other ways, the virus is a mere nothing to them. Keeping them out of school won’t save their lives.
However, long-distance education is nothing fish nor fowl. It’s not homeschooling, which has a separate dynamic that’s very focused on the individual. Instead, it’s drone schooling, with millions of students across America staring at a screen while a teacher lectures them, usually badly. The teacher has no reasonable idea what they’re doing.
Long-distance schooling also means that children from impoverished, violent, or neglectful backgrounds get even more of the short-end of the stick than they usually do. Some may not have access to computers, so they’ll get no education. Those children who are abused or ignored will be trapped 24/7 in those terrible environments.
Another problem is that children need to socialize. Not only are they being kept from school, but they’re also not even supposed to see other children under this paranoid regime. Children are like puppies. If they don’t properly socialize at a young age have social problems for the rest of their lives. Parents are already worried about children’s screen time. Imagine how bad it will be when they have no contact with their peers.
Lastly, children need to develop their immune systems. By protecting them from the one virus, we’re preventing them from exposure to all the other things that their body needs if it’s to educate the immune system to protect them throughout their lives. Children kept in bubbles when they’re young are very vulnerable to dangerous infections and diseases as they grow older.
3. While the teacher’s unions see a short-term benefit to keeping the school’s closed, do they really imagine that taxpayers will continue meekly to pay high taxes when their kids are sitting at home staring at someone lecturing on a computer monitor? Although governments across America have done a superb job of impoverishing ordinary citizens, they’ve done an even better job of ensuring that not a single government employee has been laid off or missed a paycheck. Expect that to change if students don’t go back to school.
4. In a funny way, keeping schools closed may work to undermine the public school system entirely because the closures might teach parents that it is possible to have an old-fashioned life, one in which one parent earns money and the other parent raises (including teaches) the children. Nowadays, with educational videos that are usually much better than a boring, marginally informed public school teacher, homeschooling is easier and better than ever before. Again, this will shrink tax rolls, which will harm the same teachers who refuse to go back to class.
5. The parents who are supporting keeping classrooms shut are being incredibly cowardly. We know that kids are minimally affected by the virus. In other words, parents must be concerned for their own welfare.
But we also know that younger adults are not too badly affected. People in their 20s through 40s — that is, the people who have school-aged children — usually get the virus, if they get it at all, at a very low level of sickness. Again, bad things can happen, but that’s the case with anything, whether it’s the flu, H1N1, pneumonia, or getting an infection that turns septic.
I can understand that teachers may be concerned because they’re exposed to so many kids at once, but surely there’s some way to protect them? Other than that, the people most at risk are grandparents, and they’re already sheltering from the grandkids now.
For those parents who aren’t into homeschooling, or who actually support public schools, how cowardly are those people who don’t want their kids to get the benefit of being in the same room as the teachers, socializing with peers, and developing their immune systems?
I can’t stop thinking about that woman in Arizona who threw her toddler out the window to save it. She was already on fire and might have saved herself by jumping after the baby. She didn’t, though. Instead, she stayed in the apartment, burning to death, to make sure that her 8-year-old daughter survived (which the girl did). Would that mother be so afraid of a virus that she would willingly destroy her children’s education and socialization? (And again, that’s assuming there are such benefits from modern public school education.)
Those are my thoughts, FWIW. On balance, I think the teachers are making a mistake to hold their classrooms hostage to their political demands. Time will tell, of course.
One more thing: Whatever else is going on, kids and masks are not a good idea. I’m not a fan of mandatory masks and I’m certainly not a fan of mandatory masks for kids: