When the Chicago Teachers Union posted on Twitter that “the push to reopen schools is rooted in sexism, racism and misogyny,” they provided yet more evidence of the cult mentality surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. If you disagree with them at all, you are an immoral person.
Of course, this is projection. It is the Chicago Teachers Union that is racist. They know that remote learning has harmed black and Hispanic children the most, and they are happy about that. (See here and here.) These “teachers” are using their lobbying and collective bargaining power to harm the children who they are supposed to be teaching, simply because they do not like people with darker skin.
Now, is that accusation correct? Is it fair? No, and that is the point. Whatever the reasons are for teachers’ unions to oppose in-person learning, it is not because they are racist. But the bottom line is this: If you want to engage in race-baiting, then expect that same tactic to be used against you when you promote a policy that harms black and Hispanic children much more than white children. If you want to play the race card against people who disagree with you, then you get to be judged by your own standard.
What we need to do here is recognize a basic truth: Schools exist for children, not teachers. Therefore, the needs of the students must come first. Given that remote learning has been proven to be inferior to in-person instruction, we should prioritize in-person instruction. Does that mean we should not care about teachers? Nope. We should take necessary steps to protect them, especially those who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Schools are already doing that. But pandemic mitigation policy should not come at the expense of education, especially for low-income black and Hispanic students.
Elected officials, you need to stand up to the teachers unions and prioritize the needs of the children – who are the entire reason schools exist. You need to do this even if it costs you some campaign contributions. Are you willing to put educating children above fattening your campaign’s bank account?