Teachers’ unions and the Democratic Socialists of America make school re-opening ‘demands’

Teachers’ unions across the country (including the St. Paul Federation of Educators), the Democratic Socialists of America and other left-leaning organizations endorsed and coordinated demonstrations yesterday (August 3) as part of a “National Day of Resistance” over school re-openings.

In conjunction with the demonstrations, the coalition listed a number of school re-opening demands, including an ambiguous demand of not re-opening until the scientific data supports it, and other demands such as police-free schools, a moratorium on new charter schools and private school choice, a moratorium on standardized testing, and a “massive infusion” of federal money. “We demand a safe, scientific, racially just and fully funded approach to reopening schools,” according to the coalition’s flyer.

But the science supports sending kids back to school. And to help address education disparities, we should be helping families of color and low-income families access a learning environment that works best for their chid—not holding them captive to a public school system that has failed to meet their needs.

How is it “about the kids” when teachers’ unions boycott school openings but oppose alternative learning options? How is it “about the kids” when teachers’ unions demand educational equity but attack the learning environments many families of color choose?

Well, because it’s not. It’s about unions maintaining power and engaging in political extortion, according to The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board.

Last week Randi Weingarten, leader of the powerful American Federation of Teachers, declared support for “safety strikes” if local unions deem insufficient the steps their school districts are taking to mitigate Covid-19. And on Monday an alliance of teachers unions and progressive groups sponsored what they called a “national day of resistance” around the country listing their demands before returning to the classroom.

Rather than work to open schools safely, the unions are issuing ultimatums and threatening strikes until they are granted their ideological wish list. Children, who would have to endure more lost instruction, are their hostages.

Gov. Walz announced on July 30 that school reopening guidance will be based on the number of COVID-19 cases in each county but will then be left up to school districts to decide if their reopening plans are going to be more restrictive. St. Paul Public Schools (whose teachers’ union endorsed the “National Day of Resistance”) has announced it is planning on starting the school year in distance learning for all students even though Ramsey County is currently cleared for in-person elementary/hybrid secondary.

Teachers’ unions are showing their hand, and it is giving Americans a “closer look at the[ir] true, self-interested character,” continues The Wall Street Journal.

They are allies of the political left. And they wield monopoly power that they are now using to coerce parents and taxpayers to dance to their agenda if they want their children to learn.

No political force should have veto power over the education of America’s children.

Because public schools get funded whether they are open or not, our students and families would be better served if they could take their education dollars and decide where to educate their child. For example, maybe their neighborhood public school can’t or won’t reopen but they want their child to receive in-person instruction. Or maybe they are concerned their child isn’t being challenged enough or is being taught curricula that they don’t support. Regardless of the reason, many families are looking outside of union-controlled school districts, and that decision should be respected.