The Center for Disease Control announced in February that schools could safely reopen, and that it was “critical” that they do so. They said the risk of COVID transmission in schools was minimal — even if teachers were not vaccinated — and the damage to children by remaining closed was maximal.
Experience in the schools that have opened bears that out. There have not been cases of widespread transmission of COVID in reopened schools. That’s undoubtedly because children are nearly immune to COVID. And their teachers retire long before they reach the COVID-vulnerable post-65 age group.
That CDC announcement that teachers, vaccinated or not, should return to work was two months ago, though it didn’t get much media attention because teachers are overwhelmingly Democrats and so are the media. Since then, many teachers still refuse to return to work even though many have been vaccinated in the meantime.
So much for “follow the science.”
Teachers’ unions deserve much of the blame. By nature, unions bargain on behalf of the workers that are average. That’s because average workers almost by definition are the most numerous and have the most votes to elect and reelect the union bosses. The few excellent workers don’t have many votes, and so the union bosses can disregard them without fear of being voted out.
I’ve been privileged to know and be taught by some of those excellent teachers. To you, I say I’m talking here about the average teachers, not about you. To you, I say thank you.
Average workers in most jobs, including teaching, want two things: More money and less work. Teachers’ unions have succeeded in delivering both to their members, especially less work. Typically, these goals are couched in dishonest rhetoric such as, “It’s for the children.”
Consider teachers’ retirement. In most states, public school teachers are eligible after 20 years for a generous retirement pension for life with cost-of-living escalators. On average they retire at age 59, and many make more money in retirement than they did before they retired. After also accounting for summers and holidays, the number of hours worked by average teachers over the course of a career is about half that of ordinary people.
Fine, bargaining for more money and less work for average workers is what unions are for. But please don’t give us excuses about COVID safety that are contrary to CDC recommendations.
And don’t dare play the race card. When parents in California pressed for their local schools to follow the science by reopening, as the CDC urged, a teacher accused them of “cynical, pearl-clutching, faux-urgency, ableist, structurally White-supremacist, hysteria.”
The teacher’s accusation of “hysteria,” at least, seems a little projective.
This less-work-for-more-pay routine would almost be tolerable if the little time spent teaching by average teachers were more productive. But the educational-industrial complex has launched a war on academic achievement.
Programs for high-achieving students are now assaulted as elitist or even racist (that word again!) because certain demographics do poorly on them. After decades of trying unsuccessfully to improve the test scores of the poor-performing demographics, educators are throwing in the towel. Because they can’t get the “right” demographics to pass the tests, they’re abolishing the tests.
Elite colleges are abolishing the SAT test and gifted programs at high, middle and elementary schools, are being dismantled. Consider the harm this does to bright kids who are forced to sit in classes far lower than their academic level, and consider also the loss to society in holding those kids back from their potential.
Colleges and high schools that are not outright abolishing entrance tests are grading them on a racial curve. At Harvard, Asians need SAT scores 100 points higher than whites and 450 points higher than blacks.
Colleges are now full-woke in class warfare. Noted financial writer Suze Orman recently gave her standard talk to college diversity czars about getting ahead financially. It’s common-sense stuff about avoiding debt, and the miracle and peril (depending on which side of it you’re on) of interest compounding.
Orman was excoriated for being “insulting and insensitive” for failing to blame individual financial problems on “systemic barriers to wealth such as class, race or gender.” Interestingly, Orman has been married to another woman for ten years. No matter. Among the wokerati, race trumps all.
In San Francisco, the school board has still not reopened the schools. When they finally do (they say it might be in late April, just in time for summer break) the kids will find themselves in re-named schools. During the pandemic, the board decided that it was racist to have schools named after John Muir, Diane Feinstein, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and 40 others.
Yep, Lincoln was racist (I assume they’re referring to the time before he was shot to death for freeing the slaves) and must be canceled.
Many of the San Francisco public school students and their parents asking for reopening of the schools are of Asian descent. Their success in school and their desire to attend prompted a school board member to tweet that they are “house n*****s”
But it’s Lincoln that’s the racist who must be canceled, and don’t you dare forget it. Else you’ll be next.
Across the bay in Oakland, it’s the teachers that are intransigent, not the union. The school board had a deal with the union to reopen the schools this week but half the teachers refused to show up for work. Twenty percent of them say they won’t even show up in April.
One last example. Oxford University is considering banning sheet music. That’s right, the 8 ½ by 11-inch pieces of paper that music is printed on might be banned. Because sheet music comes from a time that “was complicit in white supremacy.”
OK, one more. Mathematics is racist now. You can guess why. And don’t even get me started on campus censorship.
So that’s where we are. Sheet music, Abraham Lincoln, gifted students, parents who want their kids in school, Asians, math, lesbian financial advisors who caution against taking on too much debt, and the Center for Disease Control, are all racists.
Or modern education is crap. You decide.