Who Cares about the Kids? Not the Teachers’ Unions.

Did school teachers abandon their students during the Spanish influenza? I suspect they were made of tougher stuff than teachers today. — JAB

by Kerry Dougherty

They hate it when we call them teachers’ unions. But when organizations act like trade unions, throw tantrums like unions, put their own needs before the people they serve, you’re looking at a union.

Make that unions. Plural.

In Fairfax County there are three: the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers, the Fairfax Education Association and the Association of Fairfax Professional Educators.

According to a piece in The Washington Post headlined, “Teachers in Fairfax Revolt Against Fall Plans, Refusing to Teach In-Person,” these three groups are acting in concert to force Fairfax County students to miss another year of school.

Maybe two years.

Heck, Fairfax County schools may never reopen since these teachers are demanding that all learning be virtual until a Covid-19 vaccine is available.

Someone tell these Mensa members that there may never be a vaccine. And even if one is developed, many parents may not be eager to serve up their children as guinea pigs for a drug that’s rushed to market as teachers are stomping their feet and refusing to come out from under their beds.

After Gov. Ralph Northam unveiled his insane rules for reopening schools two weeks ago — before he flip-flopped and said they were not mandates — the Fairfax County school superintendent sent out a survey giving parents and teachers two options for the fall: Keep school closed and have 100% distance learning or have children in class two days a week and let them continue to experience the joy of online learning the rest of the time.

Both options are absurd, but Northam’s nutty regulations made five-days-a-week in class seem impossible.

The teachers in Virginia’s largest school district are taking no chances on that second option. They are determined not to go back to their classrooms.

“Our educators are overwhelmingly not comfortable returning to schools,” said Tina Williams, president of the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers. “They fear for their lives, the lives of their students and the lives of their families.”

Geezus. Are these educators comfortable enough  to read and interpret data that show that not only are children not at risk from the coronavirus but they aren’t carriers and there isn’t a single documented case of a child infecting an adult?

Apparently not.

Are they also too uncomfortable to be aware that distance learning was a freaking disaster? Ironically, nowhere was this more evident than in Fairfax County where 189,000 students were the victims of a school district entirely unprepared for online learning.

When Northam terminated in-person classes in mid-March, Fairfax gave kids a month off before rolling out a glitchy program that was vulnerable to hacking and other problems.

Distance learning didn’t work there or anywhere. That’s not just my opinion — although common sense would tell you kids need to be in class with actual teachers — The Wall Street Journal documented the mess that was American education this spring.

Oh, it’s worth noting that the petulant behavior of Fairfax teachers flies in the face of advice now being offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP notes that children are not at risk from Covid-19 and not carriers.

The AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.

The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020. Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation.

This, in turn, places children and adolescents at considerable risk of morbidity and, in some cases, mortality.

Who suffers when teachers are too afraid to return to the classroom?


The very people these union members are supposed to serve.

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