The teachers' unions are their own worst enemies
The teachers' unions are not making a lot of friends these days. Their insistence on keeping schools closed out of fears of COVID is damaging to children.
And they seem to be going out of their way to blow up relationships, especially with those of their parents who pay their taxes — i.e., teacher salaries!
It reminds me of that famous line from Napoleon: "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
Well, I am not going to refer to the unions as my enemy. Nevertheless, I am not very happy with them, and lots of others seem to agree with me.
David Brooks, writing in the New York Times, is right:
The first fact is that remote learning is a disaster, especially for disadvantaged students.
I recommend an article Alec MacGillis wrote for ProPublica last fall on how things were going for students in Baltimore. It paints a finely grained portrait of chaos: online classes in which almost no students show up, schedules rearranged at the last minute, Zoom links that are inaccessible. The 12-year-old boy at the center of the piece was passionate about school before the pandemic, but by last fall he was talking about school in the past tense.
The broader data on school closure is horrendous. Mental health problems have increased. Many children have simply vanished from official oversight. Schools in Hillsborough County, Fla., started the year missing 7,000 students.
The children who are attending aren't learning much. A Stanford study suggested that the average student has lost at least a third of a year's worth of learning in reading and three-quarters of a year's worth of learning in math.
Private and some public schools are already operating safely all around the country, with little evidence that attendance is spreading the virus.
That's correct, and I can see it with my own eyes. The Catholic schools and other private schools are up and running. They are super-careful and go out of their way to protect the teachers and students. The bottom line is that they are teaching students.
On the other hand, the teachers' unions have managed to shut down in-class teaching for millions of kids, coast to coast.
Why are the teachers' unions acting like this? My guess is that they just wanted to oppose President Trump. After all, they do support the Democrats most of the time.
My second guess is that it's a monopoly, and parents face two alternatives: homeschooling or pay tuition. Unfortunately, a lot of working couples cannot afford to have one parent stay home and serve as a home school teacher. Also, paying tuition may not be an option for many family budgets, especially the ones paying property taxes that finance schools.
So where do we go? We are moving in the direction of many parents taking control of their kids' education. I like that option. I don't think the teachers' unions will when state legislatures start passing laws that support alternatives to public schools.
Memo to parents: Be patient, because the public school monopoly is destroying itself.
PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).
Image: Pixabay, Pixabay License.