National School Choice Week

Schools Might Not Reopen for 'Maybe Another Year,' Says N.J. Teachers Union

Montclair cancellation of K-12 reopening is yet another reminder that unions are putting students last.


Another day, another set of parents who discovered at the last minute that the planned reopening of their kids' long-shuttered elementary schools was being thwarted by a politically powerful teachers union.

This time it was in the wealthy, New York City-adjacent suburb of Montclair, New Jersey, where Superintendent Jonathan Ponds announced late Friday "with deep regret" that the schools, closed for the past 319 days, wouldn't even be reopening on a hybrid basis (half-in, half-remote), because negotiations with the Montclair Education Association (MEA) broke down. "I realize how unsettling this news is," Ponds added.

The union seeks Plexiglass barriers, millions of dollars in ventilation upgrades, and for teachers to be vaccinated (New Jersey, unlike New York, does not as yet prioritize teachers for vaccines). MEA President Petal Robertson said in a statement, "It is our duty to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for our staff and a sound educational plan for our students."

Remote learning has not been a sound "plan" for students. More like the opposite. But what about the main union contention, safety?

"The truth is, for kids K-12, one of the safest places they can be from our perspective is to remain in school," then-director of the Centers for Disease Control Robert Redfield said in November.

COVID-19 infection rates at elementary schools in particular have been, compared to the country as a whole, microscopic—0.2 percent for teachers, 0.1 percent for students, according to economist Emily Oster's database of 5,000-plus K-12 schools. The positive rate in New York City's program of random school testing—currently standing at 0.52 percent from more than 360,000 tests since October—has consistently been around one-tenth of the overall community positivity rate.

And, observed Redfield, "The infections that we've identified in schools when they've been evaluated were not acquired in schools. They were actually acquired in the community and in the household….The data strongly supports that K-12 schools—as well as institutes of higher learning—really are not where we're having our challenges."

Unions may utilize the rhetoric of safety, but the determinative factor in school closures is their own power. As Reason Foundation Director of School Choice Corey DeAngelis has documented, the biggest correlating factor in all-remote learning is not the level of community infection, nor the quality of ventilation systems, but rather the comparative political strength of the relevant teachers union.

Union muscle is especially swole in Montclair. From The New York Times:

The newly elected mayor, Sean Spiller, is the No. 2 official at the statewide teachers' union, the New Jersey Education Association. The president of the local teachers' labor group, Petal Robertson, is competing for a leadership job at the association. And one of the governor's top political strategists, Brendan Gill—an Essex County commissioner who is also the township's Democratic chairman—lives there, as does the state's new education commissioner, Angelica Allen-McMillan.

Mayor Spiller's comment to the Montclair Local is a model of brow-furrowing concern, communicating empathy while accomplishing bupkis.

"Our educators, students, and parents…deserve high praise for going above and beyond to continue the work of teaching and learning," Spiller wrote to the paper. "It is from that starting point that we need all parties working together….It is important that all educational stakeholders collaborate in order to ensure we have an appropriate and clearly articulated safe plan for any return to in-person instruction."

Such impotent bureaucratic gobbledygook is hardly limited to union-hack Jersey mayors. Here's the president of the United States on Monday, when asked, in light of the Chicago walkout, whether he believes teachers "should return to schools now":

Biden's stammering here is in direct proportion to the fundamental untenability of his—and teachers unions'—position. Headlines from Dec. 8 had it that the then-president elect was pledging to have K-12 schools reopen within his first 100 days in office, but too many people were expressing relief rather than looking at the caveats embedded (and italicized) in his headline-making quote: "It should be a national priority to get our kids back into school and keep them in school…If Congress provides the funding, we need to protect students, educators and staff. If states and cities put strong public health measures in place that we all follow, then my team will work to see that the majority of our schools can be open by the end of my first 100 days."

So many terms with hedged or slippery definitions, so many union lawyers ready and incentivized to exploit.

Congress has provided scores of billions in COVID-related extra funding for K-12 schools—around $15 billion in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act last March, and $54 billion in the relief bill passed in December, on top of the Department of Education's annual $40 billion or so. Biden's latest $1.9 trillion coronavirus-relief proposal, billed as the first of two, includes another $130 billion earmarked directly for K-12 reopening, plus an additional $350 billion for states to patch their budgets, of which public education is always a large share.

Would even that be enough funding? Could unions (as in Montclair) still object to what they deem as insufficiently "strong public health measures"?

Well, consider this: The Biden administration is already signaling that the 100-day deadline (which comes April 30) won't be met. "On a call with reporters Wednesday," CNN reported last week, "Carole Johnson, Biden's Covid testing coordinator, acknowledged that the reopening timeline may need to be extended."

As New York Post columnist and fellow Brooklyn public school parent Karol Markowicz reiterated yesterday, "There is no amount of money the Biden administration can shower on schools to get them all open full-time in September. The [social distancing] 'rules' will ensure that many kids won't be in class full-time for the foreseeable future. Unlike in cities across the world, the city and state will continue to ignore the fact that kids are at uniquely low risk from COVID-19."

At the end of my latest print-magazine column, which was posted Monday but printed nearly three weeks before, I concluded, sourly, that "if New York City is indeed the model, the most 'open' thing will be the government's checkbook—that and parents' web browsers as they explore every option for their kids that doesn't include a teachers union."

Mayor Bill de Blasio, you may recall, announced with great fanfare in early December that, having arbitrarily closed all public schools three weeks prior, he was now set to reopen all five days a week! He even held up Gotham as a role model for the rest of the country, despite the fact that, to cite one of hundreds of thousands of examples, my 12-year-old has set foot on a campus all of seven times since March 15, 2020; zero since November.

Sure enough, just this afternoon on CNN, when asked about schools reopening not in 100 days but in September, City Council member and Health Committee Chair Mark Levine said: "It's too soon."

The same message is coming from the political class mismanaging affairs across the Hudson. Marie Blistan, president of the New Jersey Education Association (which is foursquare behind the unofficial teachers strike in Montclair), told the Times that the Garden State should be prepared for "interruptions in learning for maybe another year."

Well, teachers unions should be prepared, too. Prepared for massive middle-class evacuations from public education in the blue states where unions hold sway.

Take a good, long look at this Burbio map of K-12 school reopenings across the country. "Just over one-third of US K-12 students [have] never been in the classroom this year and they are concentrated in two areas. We call them 'Always Virtual": West Coast and the Mid Atlantic states plus metro areas outside those states such as Chicago, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Cleveland, Boston, plus smaller cities," the site notes. "These regions have a particular combination of state level regulations, logistical challenges and local stakeholder resistance that separate them from the rest of the country."

Local stakeholder resistance. There are the taxpayers who fund K-12 education, and the 50 million-plus kids who enroll in K-12 public schools, yet the real-world power dynamics of the situation is that the holder of the stake is neither the funder nor consumer of this wretched monopoly product. It's the public-sector unions, and the politicians they support.

Public school enrollment is down significantly this year. The U-Haul Index of domestic one-way moving-truck action shows Always Virtual states in the top six slots for losing trucks: California, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon, while the three biggest gainers were the heavily reopened states of Tennessee, Texas, and Florida. The budgets both of state governments and local public schools are tied directly to the size of population. If people leave, so will their tax dollars, and the government jobs they fund.

The savvier among the Democratic political class realize this, which is why they're busy in the post-Trump (meaning, post-scapegoat) era talking out of both sides of their mouth. American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, recently seen yukking it up in the White House with First Lady Jill Biden, has been saying since late November that "reopening schools is vital for the health and education of our children." She co-wrote in USA Today this week that "with robust testing, we can open schools this spring before the vaccine is widely available." Yet that happy conclusion, too, is conditioned on a lengthy and expensive wishlist.

There are signs that some unions are beginning to worry about the public catching onto the gap between macro reopening rhetoric and micro school closures. "Has the Public Turned on Teachers?" asked an Education Week headline Monday. "At First Deemed Pandemic Heroes, Some Now Feel Like Villains." Well, refusing to teach in person after getting vaccinated may reduce the ol' sympathy, yes. Or accusing parents who want schools to be reopened of "white supremacy."

My beef, and the beefs of the public school parents I interact with, is not with our kids' teachers, who have been doing their best, and clearly would like more reopening. The complaint is rather with teachers unions and union-backed politicians who, when not making an absolute mockery of science with their fearmongering, are operating as if the end goal is not to urgently and fully open every damn public school in the country, but rather to maximize the dollar squeeze from comparatively powerless taxpayers.

In the meantime, current or recent public school parents hearing rumor of September uncertainty will be busy checking local private school prices and further-flung real estate listings.

"We'll have to see how many of those folks come back home after normalcy can be achieved," David Adkins, executive director of the Council of State Governments, told the Times last month. If the exodus accelerates, Adkins warned, that could devolve into a "death spiral."

No wonder preference for school choice is spreading. Parents want to be able to predict when their kids will attend school. It's amazing that teachers unions do not yet seem to understand how much public sentiment is poised to turn against them.

Consider one final anecdote. Montclair, New Jersey, is a good liberal town filled with good liberal journalists who work in, or remotely from, good liberal Manhattan. And what was the headline about Monday's botched reopening in the good liberal New York Times?

"Schools Were Set to Reopen. Then the Teachers' Union Stepped In."

NEXT: What Are the Prospects for School Choice Gains in 14 States?

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  1. I am so fucking sick of safety.

    1. Per Mike Rowe, "safety third."

      1. Which is NOT the same as "fuck safety".

        1. Which no one aaid nor said it was.

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        2. Brandybuck
          January.26.2021 at 3:33 pm
          "Which is NOT the same as “fuck safety”."

          Close enough to fuck this asshole with a running, rusty chainsaw.
          Fuck off, you pathetic piece of cowardly lefty shit.

  2. I keep telling you guys that we're not reopening until 2022. That's because there are no metrics for reopening. No standards to determine whether it's safe or not. It's all about the panic. And as the last ten months have shown us, any increase in the cumulative number of infections is cause to panic and lock down harder.

    And we'll reopen in in 2022 not because the politicians and Karen determine that it's finally time to reopen, but because the public will have had enough and just ignore the rules enmasse.

      1. Yes, I'm quite naive that way.

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    1. I keep telling you guys that we’re not reopening until 2022. That’s because there are no metrics for reopening. No standards to determine whether it’s safe or not. It’s all about the panic. And as the last ten months have shown us, any increase in the cumulative number of infections is cause to panic and lock down harder.

      Welcome to America 2021 with your host Joe Biden. The government where everything is made up and the metrics don't matter. That's right, the metrics matter as much a third party candidate in a Presidential election.

      Seriously, I live just north of the border between two counties. The southern county has seen more overall cases and more average daily cases than the county to the north, but because the relative number of new cases is lower, restaurants there can open while restaurants 50 ft. to the north cannot. Open borders FTW bitches!

    2. This is a virus of the middle and upper middle classes—the hysterics driving this bus. Unless they suddenly wise up, we're in this for YEARS. And why not, since they can afford to stay home and work their remote email jobs and order their spendy take out and have some wage slave deliver their groceries and have someone teach their kids?

      1. The last thing the teachers want is to have to go back to class, because it means they won't be able to roll out of bed in the middle of the morning to answer emails and fuck around watching Netflix, while getting the same pay. It's far easier for them to just issue daily lesson plans and do a couple of Zoom or Google Meets sessions a day, then to wrangle the attention of 15-25 students in a classroom setting. Any teacher that says how desperately they want to be back in class with the kids, while arguing for perpetual online learning, is lying their ass off.

        And if they don't want to actually come back into class, then what's the point of having all this real estate set aside for schools? Tear them down and sell them to developers so they become a tax revenue generator instead of a tax black hole.

        1. I'll add here that you're not seeing as much of this shit going on in red states, because they actually study the science instead of Science!, and know this pandemic doesn't justify this level of hysterical response.

        2. +1000

        3. Tear them down and sell them to developers so they become a tax revenue generator instead of a tax black hole.

          Why tear them down?
          Just sell them to people who actually want to run schools. That way you don't have to build anything else, and the property still goes on the tax rolls.

        4. Exactly, Red Rocks, and this doesn't just apply to teachers. Almost everyone I know relishes the thought of being able to "work from home" for the next couple years, if not permanently.

          If the SJWs think there is an economic disparity now, just wait until the emergence of this new dynamic: the Workers Bee Class that slaves away for minimum wage fulfilling the orders for the Stay At Home Class that earns six figures a year doing nothing but pushing information around.

      2. Yup. They’ll still complain about it though.

    3. We?

      Texas is open.

  3. "The complaint is rather with teachers unions and union-backed politicians who, when not making an absolute mockery of science with their fearmongering, are operating as if the end goal is not to urgently and fully open every damn public school in the country, but rather to maximize the dollar squeeze from comparatively powerless taxpayers."

    Of course, the teachers themselves are completely blameless. Has anyone at Reason ever met the average public school teacher?

    1. Yeah, I figured the whole, "teachers are heroic, it's the teacher's union that is the problem" argument would come up. The teacher's unions represent the teachers. If they are not representing how the teachers feel, it's on the teachers to fix that. I am also really sick of commercials (Microsoft, Google, etc.) saying how terrific teachers performed during the pandemic. Absolutely disgusting. Teachers were the only profession that not only didnt sacrifice during the pandemic but are being paid the same for doing less work. As a group, they had the most selfish response of anyone. Don't let them hide behind a union whose representatives they elect.

      1. The only reason dickface cares at all is because he has kids (probably adopted) in school in Park Slope.

        It’s similar to how he went absolutely ballistic back when the .SALT blue state tax subsidy he benefitted from got cut back, when usually these fugazis like to argue that we should be paying more taxes for the government we supposedly want.

  4. Can we stop paying these criminals that say they are teachers?

    1. It’s because of democrats thirst for control. Just get rid of the, because they are the most saintly and self sacrificing people to ever exist. They deserve everything and should never be questioned no matter what.

  5. This is an article.

    Two weeks to flatten the curve, just became "two masks to stop the spread" within a year.

    Double-masking is a sensible and easy way to lower your risk when you have to spend more time around others — in a taxi, on a train or plane, or at an inauguration.

    1. It's just an admission that when they first said masks don't really help, they were right. One loose fitting cloth mask does very little. Two loose fitting cloth masks work a little better.

      1. I love the open air face shields the most. Protect those in front, screw those to the side.

    2. I hear that if you completely cease exchanging CO2 for O2, you can reduce your chances of dying of COVID to zero. Maybe.

      1. I could go for a tall glass of CO2 right now.

        /White Knight.

        1. He’s a C2O drinker.

          1. He’s dumb enough that maybe he will drink sulfuric acid. It’s basically the same as water.

          2. Or has inhaled too much N2O.

      2. Though your chances of being COUNTED as a "Covid-related death" will still hover around 50%,

    3. So.... masks didn't work is what Fauci is now saying.

      1. Fauci said masks didn't work because he wanted the limited supply of masks available to those who needed them most - health care workers. Now that everyone and their siblings are producing masks enuf for anyone, Fauci says masks work for everyone. And Fauci has admitted he pulled statistical percentages out of thin air to persuade people to do what he thought best, depending on circumstances.

    4. The funniest thing is they weren't double masking because 2 masks are more effective, they did it because the N95 (very effective) masks they wore only come in ugly white, so they wore a more fashionable mask over it. The outer mask is literally cosmetic.

    5. Double-masking is a sensible and easy way to lower your risk

      Didn't I hear you should wash your hands a lot? That the teeny tiny virus will linger on surfaces and you can get it by touching pretty much anything that is exposed to another person's breath and then touching your face? That you are exposed through your eyes which drain through your lacrimal ducts directly into to your sinuses, the virus' favorite place to take hold?

      How does a second mask mitigate any of that, exactly? Right. It doesn't. This isn't about us. It is about everybody else. It's time to shut up and wear 2 masks. Science!

    6. The only mask these people should be putting on their head is a plastic bag, tied tight around their necks.

      1. I hear that will guarantee that you won't catch Covid.

        It may be time to put up billboards.

    7. Wearing two condoms is twice as safe too!

  6. The placard holding moms in the photo do not aid our cause by donning face diapers. Nothing exudes ignorance like covering one's face with a filthy mask.

  7. "My beef, and the beefs of the public school parents I interact with, is not with our kids' teachers, who have been doing their best, and clearly would like more reopening."

    Ipse dixit.

    1. The unions just do what they do with zero support from their members.

      1. I should go out and start a competing teacher’s union and charge only half the dues.

        1. Good luck with that. The teacher unions have too much clout with politicians to allow competition.

    2. "This claim about a desire to work has not been verified."

  8. I'm starting to think that when teacher's unions say they're "for the students", that they're not being completely honest.

    Just a hunch, you know.

    1. But they think they are being honest, because that's what the union reps told them

    2. I can't imagine what give you that idea.


  9. It would be funny if they reopened next year and no one went back.

    1. If we don't vaccinate 65 million more people by next Tuesday, it'll be too late.

    2. “ It would be funny if they reopened next year and no one went back.”

      Before COVID: Public schools are a cesspool of liberals and socialist indoctrination.

      During COVID: “hey folks, you are not required to send your children to public school”

      What do you mean I can’t send my child to public school! They must be properly indoctrinated in the cesspool of liberals and socialism!

    3. That’s a great libertarian proverb

  10. So... every teacher that I know (my wife included) is back in the classroom, has been in the classroom for some time now, and is glad to be back in the classroom.

    Like most socio-political issues, I think there's a huge rural-urban divide.

    1. Does your wife cow to the union?

      1. No. She says she's never really been harassed to join either. I guess she's one of those "free-loaders" in a right-to-work state that collectivists like to admonish so much.

        That's another thing of it, though. I don't think the local unions around here (or whatever the hell structure there is) advocate keeping schools closed. Maybe they do but there's so much public (and teacher) opposition to it that they don't really harp on it.

        1. Yeah that's a big thing in a right-to-work states. The unions actually have to answer to members, otherwise they don't get their money

  11. Montclair, NJ is a woke town. Gobs and gobs of money. Fuck them.

    1. would love to see all those lululemon moms have to resort to home schooling. Or would they just hire private tutors?

      1. Def private tutoring. They're too busy to educate junior.

      2. Montclair, much like every liberal town, has an extremely rich part and an extremely poor part. The rich people don't care about their kids anyway, so most of them are going to private schools. The poor people get fucked in the ass as a result. And the rich liberals are too blind to see this and enable it throughout the state.

    2. It's a glaring conflict of interest for a mayor to be an official of the New Jersey Extortion Association. If I had kids I'd homeschool them.

  12. Anyone checked to see if we can charge the unions with conspiracy to commit child abuse?

  13. B-b-but muh Joe Hill !

    1. You mean Stephen King’s kid? “Horns” was decent.

  14. We've literally had data that schools are safe for nine months at this point. It's not about safety at all.

  15. Open the schools next year? I love the idea of opening the schools in two years. Sounds great. When we open up in four years the schools will be safe for children and teachers alike. But don't worry teachers, we'll keep those paychecks rolling until we open in eight years! Where's my private jet? I need to lobby some officials before we open the schools in twenty years.

  16. Get the government out of the school business. Problem solved.

  17. Couldn’t the towns just dissolve the school districts and outsource the zoom classes to India? Half the cost, no benefits and the teachers might actually know the subjects they are teaching?

    1. Except for the "Indian teachers might actually know the subjects they are teaching" part, yeah.

      Sure, there are a lot of intelligent, "educated" people in and from India, but years of experience with them (and my wifes' as well) in tech, business and medical fields suggests that they carefully keep the "half the cost" part of the equation in front of the "educated" part for good reason.

  18. Stop the paychecks. Schools will be open in a week.

    1. Bingo.

  19. I have never seen libertarians put on such a full court press for a socialist institution before. Is it that it puts a kink in your plans to get Koch money invested in the for-profit school racket, or do you just hate your children like everyone else?

    Isn’t it funny how you love all the government programs you need at this very moment.

    1. Tony I can't hear you. Your head is too far up your ass. Are you making sense? Why no. No you're not.

    2. You've missed the point of all of them above again. You are the weakest link. Goodbye.

    3. No, dummy, the point is that if they are getting paid, they should get their ass back in the classroom rather than demand unscientific shutdowns.

      I'm all for dissolving these places completely and telling the teachers to go fuck themselves and good luck elsewhere. Realistically, that's not going to happen unless it's in a red state, which is also kicking the blue states' ass in vaccinations thanks to their scientific awareness.

      1. Oh, so it's about science. Science made you avail yourself of the socialist indoctrination institution.

        You have no choice but to urge political force to make people do what you want them to do. You pay taxes, after all, and anyone who pays taxes gets to be a monster. It's the rules.

        1. Tony, you clearly don’t understand the discussion at hand. So go away.

          Adults are trying to talk here. Go back to attending your glory hole at the bus station.

          1. More high-level ideas like which group of icky-pants people you want to genocide today?

        2. Oh, so it’s about science.

          Hey, it's not my fault all these red state hillbillies are kicking your asses on getting people vaccinated, AND keeping their schools and economies operating reasonably, to boot. At least they're not having 9-year-olds commit suicide due to the social isolation you demanded, like in deep blue Clark County, Nevada.

          You have no choice but to urge political force to make people do what you want them to do.

          Consider it an in-kind contribution.

          1. You believe whatever some fat assclown rightwing media personality tells you to believe.

            You will never win at life. You can't win at life by being stupid. I'd say ask all the dead stupid people, but, you know.

    4. That is not what we are arguing Tony. Read the article, specifically the second to last paragraph about school choice. School choice is the libertarian argument. In my area there are no choices except for govt schools or home schooling. This is due to laws that give the govt a monopoly on education.

      1. School choice is still tax dollars and state required curriculum. It's a Republican/Conservative argument.

      2. I know what school choice is, but I'm afraid you may not. It's like "right to work." A slogan that makes you feel like you're being given control of something, when in reality you're being asked to donate to the cause of some guy's profit margins.

        If there are legal educational standards in a society, the only choice is how to achieve them. You're going to be paying for other people's education, that's how it works, and the choice is whether we do it with public schools or private schools that you pay for with taxes.

        For the life of me, I can't tell the difference except that the latter have lower standards and richer board members.

        1. Wrong I do understand what it is. I had my kids enrolled in a private catholic school for elementary school...not exactly the same as "school choice" that you are thinking of tony (or charter schools)...but still a choice for my family. Even though I am not catholic, don't attend church, and paid an extra premium because of that, I would gladly do it again. The education was hands down better than what the public schools were offering and no board members were getting rich off it. Now that I live in a different state I don't have that choice (mostly due to the govt monopoly). Arguably, the schools are better where I live now compared to my old state and the gap would not be as large, but would still probably go the private route if available.

          1. You should get the most expensive education for your children you can afford. It may be a good investment, but if not, at least they learned something.

            But there's only so much choice you can have. Why not advocate taking education dollars and putting them in one place to maximize the reach and standards, instead of pretending that only for-profit interests are capable of coming up with the best ideas. You have the best ideas. Make your government implement them.

            1. Why not advocate taking education dollars and putting them in one place? How about because what is good for one family may not be the best for the family next door. I am the most qualified to determine what is best for my children's education, not some govt bureaucrat.

              I also don't assume that for-profit interests are the only entities capable of coming up with the best ideas (why do you assume that only govt can come up with the best ideas?). I am also not advocating the elimination of public schools as some families may decide that is what is best for them. What I would advocate fo is that my tax dollars should be able to follow my kids when they are school age. If I don't have kids, then yeah, maybe, I could see your argument of my tax dollars going to your utopia of once place.

              You also keep missing the point that there is another model...that being the private schools affiliated with churches are non-profit. In my experience, the catholic school that I went to, as well as my kids, were not bound by state education standards (but the standards were actually higher).

              1. "I am the most qualified to determine what is best for my children’s education"

                You're a PhD in education? Credentials are just approximations, but if I'm seeking an expert on what's best for children, I expect a PhD after their name, at least. Sending them to school at all acknowledges that you think experts need to take over at some point.

                I understand your point, and there is no immediate theoretical problem with offering more options, but there's a finite amount of dollars available for education, and even the most problematic children have to be educated, so as a matter of sheer practicality, your enhanced choices probably means somebody else is getting the shaft.

                The social problem is that not all parents are as good as you. Do you expect a fair society to emerge from one that leaves children to the whims of birth circumstance?

                I'm not saying it's not social engineering, I'm saying it's social engineering for a good reason, so that capitalism makes any sense at all.

                1. Missing the point again...I am not arguing what is best for all children. I only want to decide what is best for my children. I expect others to leave my the fuck alone once I decide what is best for my children.

                  1. As you avail yourself of all the institutions your society provides for their benefit. If we have a mandate to do a universal service like education, people aren't going to have maximum choice. It's just physics. You're being sold a fantasy by corporate lobbies who see a bunch of public dollars they think would be better off in private hands.

                    1. So if we can't have maximum choice, we should be stuck with minimum choice? How about somewhere in the middle? I'd be okay with that.

                    2. Using "economies of scale" to advocate for a monopoly is a poor argument. Labor unions running a monopoly, providing a service we have to have. They have little to no accountability to their customers. (all of us, even if we don't have children) They are proven corruptible, they routinely achieve substandard results, and ever increasing funding. You can't acknowledge their monopoly is unacceptable? come on dude.

                    3. I'm advocating for a monopoly because it's a public service meant to be available to rich and poor alike, universally. It should be a monopoly because it should be a monopoly. And aren't obvious truths the best kind of truths?

                2. and yes...I am the most qualified to decide what is best for my children. You can take your PhD's and shove them.

                  1. Sorry but I'm glad my parents never suffered from that delusion. They're nice people, but as judges of educational standards, let's say they'd prefer it be left up to people who went to college at all. Thank God they landed in a decent neighborhood when I fell into their life.

                    1. and that was your parent's choice. That is not outside of the parameters that I am arguing here. In your case they left it to the professionals. In my case, I may seek the counsel of others when deciding what is best for my children (and have done so). It isn't delusion that as the parent I will generally make better decisions about what is best for my family's individual situation then some government appointed bureaucrat.

                    2. Thank God they landed in a decent neighborhood

                      What was wrong with a vibrantly diverse area where you'd be a minority?

                    3. I didn't feel like gambling my future on hoping Michelle Pfeiffer would show up.

        2. I attended a private school. It has far higher educational standards than any public school in WA. This is clearly far beyond you. Like most discussions here. You just aren’t capable of having a real discussion where you make relevant and good points.

          So run along, you’re not wanted or needed.

          1. No, I mean lower standards. They select out the problem cases while public schooling is required to serve everyone. Public schools have to teach science, while private schools are actually allowed to teach fairy tales in its place using taxpayer money. Yes, public schools have better standards. That's why parents pay extra for private school.

            1. Wrong again fucktard...what I am guessing you are calling fairy tales amounted to every other day religion/philosophy class. Was it necessary, probably not. Am I glad that I had it? Probably as it help me decide it was bullshit (others mileage will vary here of course).

              And oh yeah that was not in place of science or math....that was IN ADDITION to your fairy tales. Considering I graduated from high school with passed AP tests in calculus, chemistry, computer science, physics, and statistics I'd say they did pretty good on the STEM subjects. Among my peers, it was more unlikely for any given student to NOT have passed at least 1 AP test.

              1. I see the problem. You should have taken some humanities. We are talking about public policy, after all.

                1. Damn you are were specifically making an argument about "the sciences". Maybe you should retake a logic class.

                  1. I got a 5 on calc and bio and a 5 on English. A 3 on chem, but I had a crappy teacher who was retiring the next year.

                    At any rate, I didn't have to take any math or science in college, which freed up a lot of time to drink alcohol, which turned me into the staggering dumb-dumb you see before you. So I probably should have taken more math, but you can't learn everything.

    5. Fuck off, Tony.

  20. I teach High School in Bellingham, Washington State. Only k-2 are in person learning. And I’m FURIOUS with Union brass who are using our kids as hostages to extract millions in concessions at the expense of our kids. We currently have 224 per 100,000 innBellingham.

  21. This whole thing exposes the corrupt nature of teacher's unions and the senility of Biden.

  22. My wife has been teaching virtually. Her union has only one request, vaccinate the teachers and they will return to the classroom. Let's get moving on this already.

  23. I can't help but look at this from the students' point of view. Keep 'em closed. The sheer amount of human misery prevented will be truly colossal. Imagine how much less boredom there's been in the world over the past year. Students who were previously stuck in school watching the clock can watch TV instead. Instead of doing something boring and pointless, they do something fun and pointless. That's a net win.

    If a single student misses school it's bad for them because the other students pass them. If every student misses school it doesn't matter because since they are all stopped, no one passes anyone else.

    Why are people so outraged that kids get to stay home instead of having to go do pointless busywork? Why does anyone care that they aren't learning stuff that, if they had learned it, they would have forgotten exactly one semester later? I haven't used Calculus or Chemistry once since I learned them in school. Why should I care that students aren't going to to learn those things so that they can also not use them? Because we paid for them with our tax dollars? If the thing that we're paying for is stupid and pointless, why care if we get it or not? It would be like being forced to buy a rotten sandwich and then getting super upset that you don't get to eat it.

    1. I don't know if we know the best way to get information into young people's brains, though experts certainly might. I suspect it's not the model we've been using since the industrial revolution, but letting kids decide is self-evidently a bad idea. Just look at my Montessori-educated cousins.

      Being denied a social life is the problem we can all agree they have. I'm worried they're being turned into millions of little sociopaths with only Twitter morality as their guide.

      1. Huh? What did you do with Tony? Where's the goalpost-moving, projecting, whataboutism and strawmanning Tony?

        Dang. Made sense and nice use of oxymoron there too: "Twitter morality". Horrifying concept, and worthy of concern.

  24. Is there a single district in the country that could get the HVAC in any one of their buildings upgraded to whatever they'd need to be supposedly "safe" in under 100 days? If LAUSD were given $1Trillion tomorrow, it'd probably take at least 2-3 years to get any one school's ventilation system up to a new spec; 100 days wouldn't be enough time for them to pick a firm to draw up the plans.

    1. 100 days is very optimistic. I've been trying for 3 years to get the township to decide where - on township property - to put some already purchased small monuments celebrating five guys who served in the local militia during the American Revolution.

    2. No time like the present for upgrades, especially if we're going to be living with airborne pandemics as a constant threat to our civilization's survival.

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      2. Tony
        January.26.2021 at 10:08 pm
        "No time like the present for upgrades, especially if we’re going to be living with airborne pandemics as a constant threat to our civilization’s survival."

        No time like the present for cowardly pieces of lefty shit to assume the rest of us are responsible for the CPoLS's health.
        Crawl in a hole and stay there until your mommy says it's safe, shitstain,

        1. or no time like the present for people to fear that the current airborne pandemic is a constant threat to our civilization's survival. To be sure, the casualties of this pandemic are heartbreaking. However, the pandemic itself will not cause an end to civilization.

      3. Except the science says the pandemic isn't a threat to society. According to CDC statistics mortality rate of Covid is 0.01% for kids 5-17. That's a 99.99% survival rate for those that even contract the disease. AND only 1.9% of kids in that age range have even contracted Covid. Additionally the vast majority of those deaths come along with a underlying medical condition. Which makes already healthy kids in school even less at risk.

        Now compare that to the increasingly well documented mental health issues that have arisen from the oppressive lockdowns and fear mongering. Maybe people need to reassess their priorities.

        1. By contrast, the same age range (5-17) has a higher chance of death from any of the following: Poison, motor vehicles, drowning, and fire.

        2. I am so thrilled that you guys discovered how to balance priorities. Maybe soon you'll figure out why taxes can go up too instead of only down.

          Still many, many years of study before you should be put in charge of any pandemics. But don't worry, if you work hard, maybe you'll get to manage an outbreak of chicken pox in a kindergarten one day.

    3. 100 days? That would be enough for them to form an "exploratory committee" to determine which Dem campaign contributors firm to staff with the children of activists to *plan* the implementation of safety measures. It's been observed: given a big enough pile of taxpayer money, it can take a lot of time to patronage it all out. I mean, just lining up the "Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Advisory Committee" for each step of the project could take 100 days.

  25. There comes a time when an institution becomes so tone deaf that it doesn’t realize it’s gross abuse of power will unite opposition to it. The teacher’s unions, and the education establishment, may now have reached this point. And their conduct might result in a sudden unraveling of the whole system of government schools.

    1. Way to uncover the true nexuses of tyrannical power in this society, schoolteachers.

      You can't make this fascism shit up.

      1. Nor can anyone with a a room-temp IQ assume you've ever had two brain cells, shitstain.

        1. Forgot:
          Fuck off and die, asshole. Make your parents proud and your dog happy.

    2. The police unions are another bunch of lemmings forcing their own backs to a cliff to the detriment of good policing and public safety.

      1. A fair point. When, at the command of their masters, they beat down ex-supporters at "the wrong kind" of protests after going (again, at the order of their masters) completely hands off on rioters, arsonists and looters at "the right kind" (the "Death to America!!" and "Defund the Police" kind) of protests...they've lost the narrative.

        I think the same thing when they defend blatant criminal actions from bad cops and try to justify "Free Shit From Citizens" laws, otherwise known as Civil Asset Forfeiture.

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  27. in the wealthy, New York City-adjacent suburb of Montclair, New Jersey,

    Actually, it's about 10.6 miles from NYC at the closest point. Not adjacent.

    1. I hope Mr. Welch issues a clarification to assuage your geographical concerns.

    2. Fuck, out west here, we've got places with trees farther apart than that! 10.6 miles? We don't provide bus service to kids who live that close to school. Hell, you can be "alt-right adjacent" without ever coming within 100 miles of even knowing what the fuck "alt-right" even IS!

      It's "adjacent".

  28. There comes a time when an institution becomes so tone deaf that it doesn’t realize it’s gross abuse of power will unite opposition to it.

  29. "...the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, aka "The Nation's Report Card..." indicated that "...only 37 percent of 12th graders tested proficient or better in reading..."

    PISA 2018 – Average Score of Mathematics, Science and Reading:
    (The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a worldwide study by OECD in nearly 80 nations of 15-year-old students’ scholastic performance on mathematics, science and reading.)
    1. China 578.7
    25. United States 495.0

    If the teachers stayed home permanently (with pay of course) would anyone notice?

    1. They just need MOAR MONEY!!

      I mean, if you compare what China and other countries spend on education, per pupil, you'd see...ohhh...

  30. Ban unions. Open the schools. Universal school vouchers payable to whoever teaches the kids. Problem solved.

  31. Lemons to lemonade. This is an opportunity to eliminate the Government School system. Parents should leave the Government School System in droves. It's apparent that the Government School system is about the Teachers Unions and not about the Kids. The number of Private Schools and Home School Cooperatives need to increase.

  32. Of course they are getting paid, not furloughed and laid off. I do appreciate them making the case for vouchers and school choice.

  33. Our schools teach White students that they are immoral and contemptible if they don’t support the White Genocide that’s being carried out by massive third-world immigration and FORCED assimilation i.e diversity in EVERY White country and ONLY White countries.
    Their teachers never tell them, “White self-hatred is SICK!!!“
    Those teachers claim to be anti-racist. What they are is anti-White.
    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-White.

  34. This is pretty ridiculous. I live in a country that does hybrid and it works very well. It's hard for them to argue that they can't open when others have with good success.

    1. Nah, it's easy for them to argue ridiculous things, they do it all the time.

      I mean, I don't even want to try reconstructing the thought process that claims calls for open schools and in-person teaching are "racist and sexist". I'm pretty sure they start with the final claim and work backwards, but I don't want to lose the brain cells from following those mental gymnastics.

  35. The teachers need to be ordered back to work. Those that refuse should be fired with loss of pensions. Why are we paying people NOT to work? These unions need to be decertified. They are little better than the Mafia and put the students and the taxpayers last. If they don’t care about the students (their customers) then why should we care about them?

  36. Treat them as having voluntarily left their jobs. No severance, no unemployment, no benefits.

  37. This column makes no sense to me about schools only doing virtual learning. My kids have been going to school face-to-face every day since September. Oh wait. They attend Catholic schools. Never mind.

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  39. Even though states that have opened schools are seeing no ill effects and kids and teachers where schools have not opened are being infected at higher rates the union does have one fact they can fall back on. It is much more fun to be a teacher and get paid for not going to school and teaching all the brats. It is a lot like people getting paid more for being unemployed then when working. There is little to no incentive. You can thank the left for the unions that pay them off.

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