Mayor Lori Lightfoot announces Chicago’s response to COVID-19 at Chicago City Hall on October 19, 2020.
Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune / Zuma Press
You may have heard a few thousand times that the Biden administration will listen to science. Well, science says schools can safely reopen, but the White House is still listening to the nonscientific who run the teachers’ unions.
Mr Biden has a goal of reopening schools in his first 100 days and the current Chicago union dispute is his first major test. Elementary and middle school teachers have refused to appear in the classrooms as ordered. As a result, the district has postponed the reopening of schools for two days. “We practically beg [Chicago Teachers Union] to come to the table so we can make a deal, ”said Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
In earnest. The district has surrendered to most union demands, including about 5,000 workers being allowed to work from home because of health conditions. In addition, $ 100 million was spent on personal protective equipment, disinfectants, ventilation improvements, and portable air purifiers. In addition, regular tests and contact tracing are carried out.
Now the union wants the district to let other employees work remotely if they so choose and for teachers to be vaccinated before they return to the classroom. If Chicago agrees, other unions will cry.
Ms. Lightfoot has been far too accommodating to the union, even though she deserves to be finally pushed to resume personal learning. Major school districts in California, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Fresno, have surrendered and defied Governor Gavin Newsom’s admonitions to reopen.
“If we wait for the perfect, we might as well pack it up,” Newsom told the Association of California School Administrators last week. “If everyone needs to be vaccinated, we might as well tell people the truth: There will be no face-to-face teaching in California.” LA United Superintendent Austin Beutner responded by describing Mr. Newsom’s reopening plan as “political”.
Unions say schools lack the money to reopen safely, but schools in Chicago received double the money they expected from the latest federal bill. K-12 schools across the country spent just $ 4.4 billion of the $ 67 billion they received from Washington. Mr. Newsom has provided additional government funding of $ 2 billion to reopen schools. Still no-go.
Ms Lightfoot, Mr Newsom and other local politicians pushing for schools to reopen could use Mr Biden’s support. Sorry liberal pals, you’re alone so far.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked last week about a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which found schools can be safely reopened if they can follow precautionary measures to open land. They made a report, as they often do, based on an area in Wisconsin. Undoubtedly important, interesting data. However, this does not reflect every school district or parish in the country. “
Translation: If Republicans want to reopen schools in their cities, fine. But we’re not going to ask unions in large urban school districts to do so. As for Biden Virus North Star Anthony Fauci, “I would support the CDC recommendations as this is really based on data,” said the director of the National Institutes of Health. “We have to try to get the children back to school.”
Journal Editorial Report: Paul Gigot interviews Tom Carroll, superintendent of Boston Catholic schools. Image: David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe via Getty Images
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Published in the print edition on February 3, 2021.