Biden Education Tour Can’t Escape Unions Standing in the Way of School Reopening
The president and other members of the Biden administration are making stops in key congressional districts to talk up his plans on infrastructure, education and more. The politics are clear: shore-up voter support in states, and swing districts, where votes for Biden’s $6 trillion wish list could easily translate into a rough 2022 general election.
One big item on the president’s tour: touting how he intends to make sure public schools are reopened in the fall to in-person instruction. The problem for the president: local teachers’ unions have been a major obstacle to re-opening, particularly in some of the nation’s largest school districts:
…United Teachers Los Angeles has been staunchly opposed to reopening all along. Even this month, as the state released its plan with the blessing of the state teachers unions, UTLA called it “a recipe for propagating structural racism.”
That tone was echoed by the Chicago Teachers Union, which in December deleted a tweet that stated, “The push to reopen schools is rooted in sexism, racism and misogyny.”
Heading south to Miami, we find the United Teachers of Dade suing the state in July to stop the “reckless and unsafe reopening of schools” in the fall.
“Lives are going to be lost,” said President Karla Hernández-Mats in September. She was joined by Anna Fusco, president of the Broward Teachers Union, who asked, “What will you do when the deaths start happening?” Subsequent evidence showed their fears to be baseless.
The Houston Federation of Teachers called state and district reopening guidelines “stunningly inadequate” in July and charged the district was “in no way, shape or form prepared” to reopen in the fall. In November, the union petitioned the school board to return to all-virtual learning after Thanksgiving.
Consistent opposition has been the hallmark of Virginia’s Fairfax County Federation of Teachers, which opposed reopening plans in September, October, December and January.
These incidents become powerful anecdotes – the kind of material that’s used in campaigns for swing House districts, closely divided Senate races, and local contests up and down the ballot. They are also advertisements for school choice…something that kids need a lot more than union bosses.