Close by the editorial staff
The editorial office
March 19, 2021, 6:38 p.m. ET
New York Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang on March 18, 2021 in New York City.
David Dee Delgado / Getty Images
New York families have become reluctant homeschoolers over the past year as the pandemic continues to spread. Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang has urged teachers’ unions to deny children the opportunity to learn personally.
“I will confess to being a parent who was frustrated with how slowly our schools opened, and I believe the UFT was a major reason our schools were slow to open,” Yang told Politico. referring to New York City’s powerful United Federation of Teachers.
Mr. Yang is right. UFT endorsed current Mayor Bill de Blasio, and its parent union donated $ 350,000 to the mayor’s nonprofit as part of contract negotiations. During the pandemic, UFT pushed for classroom closings, leaving students and parents hostage to their demands.
The high schools will finally reopen on Monday after elementary and middle schools. However, under the blended learning system, students still receive face-to-face three days or less per week. The New York Post reported Friday that roughly 70% of the children in the New York school system are still entirely remote. So does the post office reported in January, more than one in ten students was absent, and 134 schools had a quarter or more of students absent from class. Wealthy parents can hire tutors or send children to private schools, but the learning loss for poor children creates inequalities that can last a lifetime.
Mr. Yang also supports charter schools that the unions have tried to destroy. “Unfortunately I think the main argument [against charters] is a political issue where teacher unions hate charters, “he said in a 2019 interview.” Teachers unions are a very, very powerful constituency. And so some politicians have said: “I am better off if I support this point of view.”
Mr. Yang leads the early polls of this year’s Mayors’ Race, and you can bet he will now be number one union enemy. New York’s parents and children should be grateful.
Main Street: What is progressive in the fight against public schools where racist minorities succeed? Images: Getty Images / Charter Academy of Success Academy Composite: Mark Kelly
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Published in the print edition on March 20, 2021.