By Donald Jeffries
Those Americans who haven’t been laid off or become unemployed due to lockdowns related to the U.S. coronavirus response understand the importance of working. Before the great lockdown, about 80% of American employees were living to paycheck to paycheck. Those entrusted to teach our children seem to be the only group with a different work ethic.
While unions have generally been rendered ineffective over the past few decades, teachers’ unions remain strong and imposing. These unions, especially the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, contribute millions every year to the political campaigns of those who will do their bidding. It’s been estimated that an average of over 95% of these donations go to Democratic candidates. These unions are unanimously, and very vocally, lobbying for schools to remain closed indefinitely.
Even the ultra-liberal New York Times recently published a critical piece on the subject. “As unions exert their influence, they face enormous public and political pressure because of widespread acknowledgment that getting parents back to work requires functioning school systems, and that remote learning failed many children this spring, deepening achievement gaps by race and income.” The article noted, “Some critics see teachers’ unions as trying to have it both ways: reluctant to return to classrooms, but also resistant in some districts to providing a full day of remote school via tools like live video.”
Reason magazine also recently reported: “More than 10 teachers unions—including those in Boston, Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul—have joined up with the Democratic Socialists of America to say that ‘schools cannot continue in this crisis without the resources our students need and deserve.’ ” The article went on to state that among the unions’ demands were “a moratorium on charter schools, an end to voucher programs, and the abolition of standardized testing.”
The notion that kids are in danger from the virus is simply not borne out by the evidence. The Centers for Disease Control has reported that only about 2,500 of the nearly 150,000 Wuhan virus cases in the United States from Feb. 12 to April 2 were children, a very low 1.7% of all those infected. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that, at most, only 0.8% of all virus fatalities have been children. Twenty states have reported no Covid-19 deaths of children. Cashiers, retail clerks, doctors, nurses, dental hygienists, waiters, grocery store workers, and plumbers, to name just a few, are occupations at far greater risk in the workplace than teachers, but they have not had the luxury of a taxpayer-paid vacation.
Critics of our woeful public school system are in a quandary on this subject. Homeschooling has been growing in popularity for many years, but for most financially strapped Americans it is simply not possible to afford one parent staying home to teach the kids. Lockdown advocates simply ignore the reality that closing schools imposes a loss of family income by forcing one parent to remain home with younger children.
Academic achievement among public school students has been falling for a long time. Most young Americans know next to nothing about their nation’s history, and Common Core has turned mathematics Orwellian. The mantra that we need to invest more money on education is meaningless rhetoric
contradicted by every statistic. The Department of Education acknowledges that spending per student has grown by 20% since 2000. As bold Wisconsin public school teacher Daniel Buck wrote, for the Foundation for Economic Education, in 2018: “Unions block the reforms that will structurally change a broken system. [T]hey oppose school choice, merit-based pay, standardized tests, and the Praxis, an entrance exam for teachers.”
The advantages to schools being closed are many. As this writer documented in his recent book Bullyocracy: How the Social Hierarchy Enables Bullies to Rule Schools, Workplaces, and Society at Large,* those who run our schools don’t care about the numerous victims of bullying and employ a startling number of teachers (and even principals) who appear to be bullies themselves. In recent years, an influx of shocking virtue-signaling programs, probably best exemplified by book readings by transgender persons to groups as young as kindergartners, has opened more eyes to the harmful agendas these schools continue to push on impressionable minds. Homeschooled children are free from that sort of deadly propaganda, and don’t have to fear being bullied physically or emotionally while inside these educational facilities. Studies have shown that homeschooled kids score higher on standardized tests and perform better in college.
Another good thing for parents and students is that online classes should allow parents a better chance to see the pabulum that is being offered to children passed off as educational material. It’s easier for parents to monitor this from home than for that parent to take time off from work to sit in a classroom where their presence is so obvious—and no longer allowed in most schools.
No occupation gets better public relations than teachers. Whenever underpaid workers are mentioned, teachers are cited first. It is revealing that they are the only group that is demanding to not go back to work. And, frankly, many schoolteachers make a pretty decent wage when vacation times are factored in.
Critics claim that the nation is headed for an “edupocalypse” unless sensible actions are taken by our listless and corrupt leaders.
Bullyocracy: How the Social Hierarchy Enables Bullies to Rule Schools, Work Places and Society at Large (softcover, 384 pages, $22 plus $4 S&H inside the U.S.) is available from AFP, 117 La Grange Avenue, La Plata, MD 20646.
Donald Jeffries is a highly respected author and researcher whose work on the JFK, RFK and MLK assassinations and other high crimes of the Deep State has been read by millions of people across the world. Jeffries is also the author of three books currently being sold by the AFP Online Store.