Teachers' union pet: Biden moves the goalposts again on re-openiong schools
To the extent that Joe Biden drew votes, a very big reason was the expectation from parents and students that he would re-open the public schools, currently on extended shutdown over COVID concerns. That was his promise, that was a signature issue, with many pixels spilled in multiple spots on Biden's campaign website supporting the claim that he was serious about re-opening schools.
Now that he's in office, too bad for those who actually believed him.
Instead of re-opening the schools, Biden's re-drawn himself a goal line for school re-opening so pathetic, so wretched, so insignificant that it's actually lower than what's already going on now in school reopenings.
School re-openings, it seems, no longer mean school re-openings the way normal people see them. In Bidenland, school re-openings mean lots and lots more Zoom school, with just lip service, a little grope maybe, to the idea of re-opening.
According to the Washington Examiner:
President Biden hopes to have the majority of students learning in school at least one day a week by April 30, press secretary Jen Psaki said in a press briefing.
"His goal that he set is to have the majority of schools, so more than 50%, open by day 100 of his presidency," Psaki said. "And that means some teaching in classrooms. So, at least one day a week. Hopefully, it's more, and obviously, it is as much as is safe in each school and local district."
Asked what that meant for teachers and in-person instruction, Psaki clarified that teachers should be in the classroom at least one day a week.
"Teaching at least one day a week in the majority of schools by day 100," Psaki responded, confirming that she was referring to "in-person teaching."
Fox News pointed out that the "goal" was complete bee ess, given that 66% of schools, actually, are already open. Unless Biden means to shut a few, to crow about that magic 50%-plus majority claim (which may easily be lower than the current 66%), any enactment of the Biden plan would mean no progress whatsoever on school re-opening. That train has already passed. Biden voters just got stiffed.
Yet Biden claimed that school reopenings were a "priority," in sharp contrast with Orange Man Bad, who, Biden claimed, "didn't have a plan." Teachers' unions come first, and too bad about students, because as with all things Biden, it's about the cash. According to Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen:
[I]n 2020, teachers unions gave $43.7 million in political contributions, 98 percent of which went to Democrats. The No. 1 recipient of teachers union cash? Joe Biden.
Fact is, teachers' unions are the Biden priority, so now he's trying to pee down his voters' legs and tell them it's raining with his school re-opening "goal." Voters are supposed to be happy with those miserable crumbs in a box full of Zoom.
Biden has a creepy habit of conflating what teachers' unions want with what parents want, which are two grossly different things. There's no such thing in his mind as balancing competing interests. Unity, you see. Notice the conflation, emphasis mine:
Trump has done effectively nothing to help schools or child care providers reopen, perhaps the single most important step to get parents back to work. While schools stay closed, parents are struggling and students, especially low-income students and students of color, are falling behind. Biden would mobilize the federal government, in cooperation with educators, child care providers, unions, communities, and families, to take decisive action.
Memo to families: You don't count; you're just filler. You're there for the pictures. You're there for the show. Biden is never going to re-open schools so long as teachers' unions have the final word.
And to Biden, the teachers' unions and their money are so important that they are actually allowed to defy what Biden calls "the science." Biden claimed that he would "follow the science" from the Centers for Disease Control.
Here it is on Biden's own campaign website:
- Working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health to share with educators and families evolving scientific insights into how COVID-19 affects children. Biden has called for scaling up COVID-19 pediatric research partnerships to address glaring gaps in our knowledge.
Turns out that the CDC has stated that schools could re-open safely. According to Thiessen, they're actually defying the "science":
[H]is handpicked director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walensky, said last week that "schools can safely reopen" and "vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for the safe reopening of schools," the Biden White House slapped her down, with press secretary Jen Psaki insisting that Walensky was speaking in her "personal capacity."
No, she wasn't. Walensky was speaking in her capacity as a government scientist during an official briefing of the White House covid response team. And her comments came just days after a team of CDC scientists published a review in the Journal of the American Medical Association of numerous studies which show "there has been little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission." Indeed, the CDC researchers pointed out one study of 17 Wisconsin schools found that after taking basic mitigation measures, "COVID-19 incidence was lower in schools than in the community." According to data compiled by Brown University Economics professor Emily Oster, in the last two weeks of January, the covid-19 case rate among students attending in-person school was just 0.45 percent and 0.88 percent among staff, compared with a community case rate of 10.57 percent during the same period.
Indeed, the politicized agency apparently was trying to do Biden a political favor for his poll numbers by finally admitting the obvious about school reopenings, something they would never have done for President Trump. But Biden couldn't take the favor, because teachers' unions told him no.
Why does this matter? Because in contrast to a lot of rubbish promoted in the press and beyond, school re-opening was and is a very big deal for a lot of voters, as evidenced in a lot of studies that have made the mainstream press.
Here's a straight analysis piece from the New York Times that ran on Oct. 22:
Several recent polls have suggested the issue is a leading concern for many voters. A Politico and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health survey released last month found that schools and education was the second most important issue for likely voters, after the economy and jobs. And a poll conducted this month in Michigan for The Detroit Free Press found that reopening schools and the economy was the top issue concerning voters, followed by the public health crisis posed by the coronavirus.
What's likely is that a lot of people figured that Biden could "talk to" the teachers' unions about re-opening schools and get the CDC to lighten up and quit trying to Get Trump with their constant lockdown orders...if they could just get him in the saddle. He wouldn't be like Trump, arguing with these people. He'd get them to go along. Voters knew that the COVID lockdowns were politicized, and with Biden on the same ideological spectrum point as the lockdown lobby, there'd be no more need for lockdowns. Just look at the twists and turns of California's Gov. Gavin Newsom, who's facing a likely recall based on his bid to Get Trump, shutting much of California's small business economy down in his bid. Voters could see it.
Biden, see, would make the teachers' unions come around, the voter logic went. Biden would get the CDC to start admitting to reality and end the perma-lockdown...
What they weren't counting on is Biden's loyalty being absolutely lashed to the mast of the teachers' unions. Trump was the kind of guy who would defy them and attempt to make them re-open schools, which is something Biden complained about. But Biden's the kind of guy who will coddle them and hand them billions and billions (which Trump did already), through his big COVID relief package, while attempting to gaslight voters into thinking the minor re-opening of schools is a good thing and the teachers' union wants just as fervently as anyone to re-open, which it doesn't. The teachers unions want a free ride, bottomless funding, and each demand met accompanied by a higher demand. Biden is now trying to tell voters that the tiny crumbs he's offering are a good thing, rather than an abject failure from a puppet to teachers' unions.
What's vivid here is that even the establishment seems to be on to it. Multiple columns, even from the left side, are starting to appear in the New York Times and the Washington Post about the necessity of re-opening schools. WaPo columnist Matt Bai, who's written pretty good books chronicling the SEIU and its pillow-talk relationship with the Democratic Party, urges Biden to privately take on the teachers' unions (likely knowing that Biden lacks the courage to go public). Bai knows there's a problem:
You don't have to be a parent to understand the growing perils of what's euphemistically known as "remote learning." It is basically a hollow and socially isolating echo of real school that has dragged on for almost a year now in scores of large districts.
Bai points out that most people can see that essential workers, such as cops, firefighters, nurses, National Guard, and retail store workers (added as an afterthought), have been on the job dangerous in (far more) dangerous conditions, but teachers' unions think they are special. If they are essential workers, he argues, they need to act like it and get on the job.
The implicit warning, with these multiple warnings from the establishment press, here, here and here, are that school re-opening is a very big deal with voters. If Biden fails to re-open schools and instead plays puppet with his teachers' union campaign contributors as their bought man, no amount of gaslighting is going to save him. He's failing to deliver on his promise, and even the Biden voters are going to notice. And right now, his great school re-opening claim nonsense is thin ice for him. He's one miserable excuse and moved goalpost after another.
Image: Pixabay / Pixabay License.