Biden sticking with school closures even as Chicago Dem mayor takes on teachers' union
Joe Biden is sticking with the teachers' unions against science and the welfare of America's children and their parents. For the first time in over half a century of watching the politics of public education, the education unions and the Democrats they support are in danger of losing public support. Biden, whose public approval is either robust or very marginal, depending on which polling organization you believe, is in danger of alienating many of the parents of young children.
Closed government schools are driving parents into private schools and homeschooling, and some of the children will never return to government indoctrination centers.
There is no scientific justification at all for keeping schools closed, as children are at almost no risk of coming down with or transmitting COVID. That means that teachers, too, are at little risk of acquiring the illness, which, if treated promptly, has a 99%+ rate of cure for all but the elderly, too old to remain in the classroom.
Certainly, classroom teaching generates no more risk than that faced by supermarket clerks or many other service industry workers who have kept vital industries running throughout the crisis.
Meanwhile, a generation of children is falling behind on learning and socialization skills, many of which can never be recovered. They will go through life at a disadvantage, as will our country, since most of our global competitors have kept schools open or reopened them long ago. China, seeking to displace us as the hegemonic power, is having a great laugh over our self-sabotage.
Parents, single mothers in particular, but at least one member of intact couples, too, are forced to care for children at home, and so are unable to work at jobs they formerly held. This decreases family income and causes hardship, while also slowing the national economic recovery.
Worst of all, there is growing evidence that our children are being harmed psychologically, as evidenced by the soaring rates of suicide, and the pall that a lack of socialization with peers casts on childhood.
Grassroots pressure is building on local politicians, far closer to their constituents than Biden, to reopen schools. New York City already reopened schools (though they were briefly closed due to the recent snowstorm). In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot — no opponent of unions — is currently publicly battling with the Chicago Teachers Union, attempting to force them to do their jobs:
.@chicagosmayor: We already updated schools with Covid-mitigation policies like "ventilation, testing, health screening, face coverings, enhanced cleaning," but "the [Chicago Teachers Union] blew up that success and created the chaos that we are now enduring." pic.twitter.com/T6EmBY1tjn— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 4, 2021
Former New York Mayor and failed presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is blunt in telling the unions to suck it up:
Bloomberg: "It’s time for Joe Biden to stand up and to say, the kids are the most important things. And important players here. And the teachers just are going to have to suck it up and stand up and provide an education. Otherwise, these kids have no chance whatsoever" pic.twitter.com/Qo4Qt4m2Ec— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 3, 2021
Presidential press secretary Jen Psaki is trying to have it both ways, of course.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday reiterated that President Biden wants to see children back in classrooms, but would not commit to standing up to unions if forced to choose between the prolific Democratic donors and reopening schools.
Psaki also said that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky wasn't discussing official CDC guidance but rather new data as she's repeatedly said in recent days that teachers don't need to be vaccinated for schools to reopen in person.
"Dr. Walensky spoke to this in her personal capacity. Obviously, she's the head of the CDC. But we're going to wait for the final guidance to come out so we can use that as a guide for schools around the country," Psaki said. "[Biden] believes that even with vaccinations for teachers or for any American, that there are a number of other mitigation steps that are important to take ... the wearing of masks, social distancing, ventilation, these are all factors that are important for... the reopening of schools."
"Private capacity"? She spoke in front of the CDC logo. This is ex post facto BS. The excuses used to keep schools closed get weaker and weaker, while the damage to children and families mushrooms with the passage of time. I am hoping Mayor Lightfoot of Chicago forces the issue, reopens schools, and fires teachers who don't do their duty. The political power of the unions may make that unlikely, but with parental anger growing nationally, and with private and parochial schools open and not spreading COVID, she might well find herself a hero to a nationwide constituency.
Joe Biden, for his part, remains the species of "honest politician" who stays bought once he's bribed with campaign contributions and volunteer manpower, both of which are abundantly supplied by the teachers' unions to Democrats. I suppose he feels that this gives him the moral high ground.
Photo credit: Twitter video screen grab.