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California teachers' union won't go back to school unless political conditions are met

It’s one thing for teachers to balk about reopening because they are wary they may get infected with COVID-19, it’s another to hold the county, parents, and teachers hostage to political interests.
Nicole Russell Texas, US

This week, LA and San Diego County schools announced they would only be meeting online this fall. Meanwhile, the teachers union in Southern California, the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), demanded that California taxpayers fund a bevy of progressive policies in order for them to reopen, despite the fact that none of these requests relate to safety and education at all and many members of the medical community are in favor of reopening without these absurd parameters.

It’s one thing for teachers to balk about reopening because they are wary they may get infected with COVID-19, it’s another to hold the county, parents, and teachers hostage to selfish claims, all while pretending to care about creating a safe, healthy environment for kids.

The Daily Caller reported that a large Los Angeles teachers union said in a research paper issued last week that these are the "safe and equitable conditions" that must occur for schools to be reopened:

  • The UTLA called for at least $500 billion in federal assistance to K-12 schools.
  • Medicare-for-All must be passed.
  • California must implement a wealth tax on unrealized capital gains for the state’s billionaires, and surtaxes on state residents that earn over $1 million a year.
  • UTLA called for the Los Angeles police to be defunded, saying "police violence is a leading cause of death and trauma for Black people, and is a serious public health and moral issue."
  • The UTLA also said charter schools are "double-dipping" by accepting federal CARES act funding while also receiving state funding, and there should be a moratorium on them.

I don't know about you, but none of these demands has anything to do with education or children’s safety. In fact, many of them look like they will hurt children’s safety. Last I checked, a global health crisis was not the time to sneak progressive policies into place, and call it a "safety measure."

This is a ruse of course, and a bad one at that. If teachers unions cared about kids, the last thing they’d be doing is hiking taxes, whining about charter schools, and lobbying to defund the very organization that would come to their aid should a riot break out or a shooting occur.

The teachers union didn’t hide its political motives. In a statement unveiling the paper, United Teachers Los Angeles President Cecily Myart-Cruz said, "It is time to take a stand against Trump’s dangerous, anti-science agenda that puts the lives of our members, our students, and our families at risk. We all want to physically open schools and be back with our students, but lives hang in the balance. Safety has to be the priority. We need to get this right for our communities."

The union said the costs to implement the measures necessary to restart Los Angeles schools safely could exceed $250 million, funds it said would be available if "federal, state and local governments are willing to finally prioritize pupils over plutocrats."

To add to the nonsense, not one medical professional, aside from the CDC, is mentioned in the paper. The paper specifically states that "the role of children in the transmission of COVID-19 is currently unknown." This is hardly the case. Multiple pediatricians and other medical professions have vocalized their support for children attending school and schools reopening in the fall.

Dr. Scott Atlas, former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center, told Fox News there are "zero excuses" to refrain from reopening schools this fall. "There is virtually zero risk for children getting something serious or dying from this disease. Anyone who thinks schools should be closed is not talking about the children. It has nothing to do with the children’s risk. There’s no rational reason or science to say that children transmit the disease significantly," he said.

NBC News medical correspondent Dr. John Torres recently interviewed multiple pediatricians and asked them if kids should return to school in the fall and if they would send their own children. Surprisingly, they unanimously agreed the risk of children getting or transmitting COVID-19 was so low they were all sending their own children to school.

Nothing like these statistics are found in the UTLA paper cited as the source for how to reopen schools, but there are anecdotes from concerned mothers about how reopening might affect their children with asthma. A valid concern of course, but hardly a driving force for a school guideline.

It’s disappointing to see such a large, influential teachers’ union fail to be intellectually honest and instead, include a list of far-left progressive policies to use as leverage to reopen taxpayer-funded institutions that benefit our children’s education, however flawed that system may be.

As the Hoover Institution once stated about teachers’ unions, "The teachers' unions are special-interest groups. As the most powerful groups in American education, they use their power to promote these special interests—in collective bargaining, in politics—and this often leads them to do things that are not good for children or for schools."

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