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Teachers' unions say they're concerned for safety, but hold school reopening hostage to partisan demands

As we continue to grapple with the ramifications of COVID-19, teachers unions are ramping up their strategy to avoid physically reopening schools in order to enforce their partisan demands.
Nicole Russell Texas, US

A new organization, "Demand Safe Schools," has coordinated with a bevy of teacher’s unions all over the United States to pretend they are demanding safety for schools when their list of demands shows they are interested in anything but that.

To push their message, they are organizing a "National Day of Resistance," the goal of which is to secure their demands for reopening. This action has very little to do with reopening schools safely in light of coronavirus, and everything to do with advocating for the implementation of progressive educational policy.

Their web site says, "In this movement moment, our organizations have come together to unite students, educators, parents and community to advance a racial justice agenda in public education, in particular by organizing for police-free schools.

"We’re working to galvanize a strong and growing student/ educator/ parent/ community voice; a voice that says the government must go much further to provide the resources to ensure a safe and equitable school reopening and must provide for our communities and working families through transformational Common Good demands."

Sure sounds well-meaning enough, even powerful. Who are these folks and what are they demanding? Ten teacher’s unions have aligned with this organization ranging from California to Wisconsin to Arkansas. Those unions include: Chicago Teachers Union, Boston Teachers Union, United Teachers Los Angeles, Massachusetts Teachers Association, St. Paul Federation of Educators, National Educators United, as well as the Democratic Socialists of America

A closer look at their "demands" for safety however, demonstrates mixed signals at best, hypocrisy, at worst. "Demand Safe Schools" wants to: Ban new charter schools, ban private school choice, make schools police-free, have a "massive infusion of federal money, and my favorite, "no reopening until the scientific data supports it."

As we continue to grapple with the ramifications of COVID-19, teachers unions are ramping up their strategy to avoid physically reopening schools in order to enforce their partisan demands. Powerful, well-funded, and extremely loud, more than 90 percent of public school teachers belong to a large union.

Banded together supporting the interest of the collective, teacher's unions often lobby for what is best for their peers, rather than individual students. This organization is no exception and demonstrates the kind of selfish bullying for which they have become known.

How can an organization that claims to "demand" safety for schools refuse to reopen "until the scientific data supports it" while the scientific data clearly already supports it? How can an organization that claims to "demand" safety for schools believe schools should have absolutely no police presence?

It's so hypocritical it almost sounds like a joke. These are the organizations behind the movement to keep schools closed. It's time to dig deep, understand who they are, what they're asking for, and determine whether that will ultimately help our kids or make it worse.

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Nicole Russell
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