CV NEWS FEED // Education officials are facing renewed criticism as the Chicago Teachers Union voted Tuesday to refuse to provide in-person learning to the city’s schoolchildren.
Two years after the outbreak of COVID-19, a growing number of Americans are showing signs of losing patience with teachers unions, public education administrators, and elected officials – all of whom have been widely criticized for working against the wellbeing of America’s kids.
“Can’t help but wonder how much long-term damage teachers unions are doing to the cause of public education in this country by this kind of behavior,” wrote liberal columnist Damon Linker in response to the Chicago teachers union strike. “What they did early in the pandemic might have been forgivable in hindsight. This, perhaps not.”
Even on the political Left, Linker is far from alone in his growing distrust of the public education system.
Writing more broadly about the Left’s responses to COVID, the New York Times’ David Leonhardt this week decried those who “have accepted more harm to children in exchange for less harm to adults, The Daily Wire reported:
“American children are starting 2022 in crisis,” NYT’s David Leonhardt opined in the newsletter, “I have long been aware that the pandemic was upending children’s lives. But until I spent time pulling together data and reading reports, I did not understand just how alarming the situation had become.”
…Many communities “have accepted more harm to children in exchange for less harm to adults, often without acknowledging the dilemma or assessing which decisions lead to less overall harm,” Leonhardt concluded.
Even more pointedly, CBS’s Jan Crawford just before the new year said that the biggest underreported story of 2021 was “the crushing impact that our COVID policies have had on young kids and children. By far the least serious risk for serious illness.”
Crawford pointed out that “a healthy teenager has a one in a million chance of getting, and dying from COVID, which is way lower than, you know, dying in a car wreck on a road trip.” Nonetheless “they have suffered and sacrificed the most, especially kids and underrepresented at-risk communities.”
“The risk of suicide — suicide attempts among girls now up 51% this year, black kids nearly twice as likely as white kids to die by suicide,” she continued. “I mean, school closures, lockdowns, cancellation of sports. You couldn’t even go on a playground in the D.C. area without cops scurrying- getting- shooing the kids off.”
Kids will be “paying for our generation’s decisions the rest of their lives,” Crawford concluded.
While some opinion leaders appear to be changing their views on the school closures, the evidence of its negative effects have been the subject of extensive reporting.
In March 2021, a column at ProPublica by veteran mainstream media journalist Alec MacGillis detailed the “emotional toll” that COVID lockdowns and school closures had taken on American kids.
MacGillis illustrated his point with detailed portraits of kids in the city of Hobbs, New Mexico. Just minutes away from Texas towns where school kids are thriving, the families in Hobbs have gravely suffered as a result of Democratic COVID responses.
In 2020, the neighboring towns of New Mexico and Texas might as well have been “in different hemispheres,” MacGillis wrote. Republican officials in Texas allowed schools to remain open for in-person learning, and students continued to play football.
“New Mexico’s response last year was the opposite,” however:
The state, led by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, took one of the most aggressive lockdown stances in the country, and issued stringent guidelines for school reopening, so stringent that Hobbs was allowed to bring back only a sliver of its students for in-person instruction.
MacGillis told several excruciating stories about high schoolers like Kooper Davis, a strong, talented, and intelligent 17-year-old who was slowly driven to suicide under the grinding restrictions Democrats and education officials had imposed since early 2020.
In any event the restrictions on children, MacGillis pointed out, fly in the face of the most undisputed data about COVID-19. “The median age for COVID-19 fatalities in the U.S. is about 80,” MacGillis wrote:
Of the nearly 500,000 deaths in the U.S. analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of early March, 252 were among those 18 or younger — five hundredths of a percent of the total.
Even before MacGillis’s devastating March 2021 report, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof blasted Democrats for essentially ruining the lives of young people, particularly through school closures.
“The blunt fact is that it is Democrats … who have presided over one of the worst blows to the education of disadvantaged Americans in history,” Kristof wrote. “The result: more dropouts, less literacy and numeracy, widening race gaps, and long-term harm to some of our most marginalized youth.”
Chicago education officials announced Tuesday that the public schools will cancel classes immediately if teachers union members voted in favor of teachers refusing to show up for work.
After the vote late Tuesday evening, student advocate Corey DeAngelis reported: “The Chicago Teachers Union membership just voted to take a ‘remote work action’ (with 73% in favor) starting tomorrow.”