Monday, December 21, 2020

Teachers Unions Wreak Havoc And Get Away With It Under The Societal Radar

AIER |  On Monday, December 7th, North Carolina teachers did not show up in their classrooms, but instead logged onto Facebook and posted photographs of themselves dressed in red with the caption, “A show of solidarity with our colleagues.” This gesture was in defiance of the Orange County Superintendent’s call for teachers to return to schools and a way to protest school openings, on the grounds that it was too dangerous for teachers to do their jobs in person because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The local teacher’s union, Orange County Association of Educators, supported the movement in a Facebook post saying, “We have yet to hear sufficient rationale for how teaching from our classrooms helps our students, who can tell when our morale is low and our stress levels are high.”

Schools across the country – in New York City, DC suburbs, Pittsburgh, and so on – are closing again for fear that a new wave of infections will occur from holiday travel and more people staying indoors. In Orange County, the teachers are still unwilling to hold in-person classes even though the county is seeing a low positive test rate of 3.1%, well below the state’s positive test rate goal of 5%. 

It would be reasonable for teachers to oppose schools being open if Covid-19 posed a significant risk to students. However, we knew early on that the science demonstrates there is virtually no risk of severe illness or death to children. On April 22nd, a study from The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found:

“Most children with COVID-19 presented with mild symptoms, if any, generally required supportive care only, and typically had a good prognosis and recovered within 1 to 2 weeks.”

Likewise, two months later, a study from the Lancet stated: “COVID-19 is generally a mild disease in children, including infants.”

In the US alone, only 254 young people under the age of 17 have died of Covid-19. This number accounts for roughly 0.085% percent of Covid-19 deaths in the United States.

At the same time, school closures cause great harm to children and teenagers, especially in the long term. 

School districts across the country are observing much higher class failure rates compared to previous years. Salt Lake City schools reported the percentage of students falling below grade level jumped from 23 percent in 2019 to 32 percent in the first trimester of 2020. In Fairfax County, Virginia, the number of students who have two or more failing grades has increased by 83%. Significant evidence shows that a truncated school year supplemented with online learning is vastly inferior to the education children get in-person. Virtual learning is particularly harmful to students from poor socioeconomic backgrounds who do not have sufficient resources to support their learning. 

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