Opening schools this fall should not be a partisan issue, but it is and will be. The physical and mental welfare of our children and the well-being and fitness of our economy and communities should be the decisive factors, but will not be.
Education policy is and will be most strongly influenced by the overwhelmingly left of center National Education Association (NEA) and associated teacher unions. The NEA is arguably the strongest and most influential interest group on the left (with apologies to Planned Parenthood, AARP, Trial Lawyers, Black Lives Matter, Antifa, Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan).
A number of countries, including Australia, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Israel, Taiwan and Uruguay have reopened with relative success. Each country and education system is different, but a reopening strategy cognizant of differential infection rates and using social distancing, personal protective equipment, reduced class sizes and staggered schedule strategies has been successful.
It is also expensive and would require federal assistance. Is it worth the risk and expense? I think yes because the cost of not reopening and/or largely depending on online distance instruction will be devastating to our children, our economy and our communities.
The NEA and other liberals will do all they can to prevent reopening, all the while lying that their position is about teacher and student safety.
There is no way that the economy and communities can recover if the schools are not reopened for in-person learning. Parents’ economic productivity is severely hampered by closed schools and required online assisted/pseudo homeschooling. The secondary social and equity benefits of in-person instruction cannot be replicated online, and in the case of equity, are actually damaged.
The only bright spot for keeping the schools locked up is it will likely increase support for school choice. To the extent (and I believe it’s significant) that the NEA has successfully turned America’s public schools into indoctrination centers (ask to see the K-12 curriculum materials on climate change, gender identity, American History and white privilege), burning the village in order to save it has some appeal, but scorched earth is not an education or pandemic policy to unite the nation, but rather one to divide it.
Reprinted with permission from the July 29 edition of The Machias Valley News Observer.