The children may be on summer vacation, but the teachers’ unions haven’t taken a break from trying to harm them. This week, the National Education Association (NEA) is holding its annual meeting. Members are debating and adopting many new policies, from anti-Israel statements to funding campaigns against their growing number of critics. But one new business item should alarm all parents.
The NEA will call for mandatory safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations and testing for all students and staff before returning to face-to-face instruction in the fall, subject to medical exceptions in accordance with existing law, and will widely publicize this position via social media. We will further call for and publicize that safety measures such as social distancing, masking, and proper ventilation be mandatory for all.
The NEA, like its counterpart, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), is laying the groundwork for schools to remain closed in the fall, or least for them to have draconian and unnecessary rules in place to make schools inhospitable to children or learning.
Teachers’ unions have done enough damage to our nation’s children. Every member of these unions was first in line to get a vaccine, even though many of them still refused to work in-person. They now have a statistically near-zero risk of serious illness from COVID, including new variants. They should not continue to have any say whatsoever in school decisions regarding COVID or our children’s health.
AFT president Randi Weingarten has spent the past couple months, and likely several million dollars taken from teachers’ paychecks, attempting to gaslight the American public into thinking she wanted schools open the entire time. But when you are not looking, teachers’ unions are still trying to shut them down to this day.
Requiring vaccines in children for in-person instruction is simply insane. Requiring them to continue masking and social-distancing is similarly nutty. Children are not threatened in a statistically significant way by COVID. Instead of thanking God for that blessing, union bosses are choosing to deny reality.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), we have lost 386 children under 18 to COVID as of June 30, 2021. That’s not a typo. Out of approximately 75 million children in this country, we have lost under 400. Most were older children now eligible for the vaccine. While every one of those deaths is tragic, we must have some systemic perspective. According to the CDC, about 4,000 children fatally drown a year, but we don’t ask children to wear flotation devices wherever they go. Because adults typically have an appropriate risk tolerance.
I’m as pro-vaccine as they come. Variants only exist because at-risk adults are refusing vaccinations for a myriad of reasons, allowing the virus to mutate and spread. I wish they would get their safe and effective vaccines as soon as possible so we can just close the book on this once and for all. But the people currently at risk of serious illness or death from COVID are these adults and these adults alone.
Half of the country’s schools were safely operating in-person five days a week well before the vaccines were even available. Many without requiring masks. And children did not die anywhere near the number teachers’ unions would have us believe. And yet unions want you to pretend that such schools were factories of death so that they can continue to keep the school doors locked.
We should remember that COVID is far from the only, or even the worst, problem facing children. And in monomaniacally focusing on COVID risks, teachers’ unions have made these other problems for children worse. Their advocacy against kids is not without cost. Ask the child with autism who is being told to wear a mask all day to protect against this near-zero risk of death. Ask the child who had or has developed anxiety to wear a mask and limit social interaction. Ask the parents who listen to these fear-mongering unions and worries if the schools are indeed safe for their children. Ask the parents who left their jobs so they could educate or care for their children because their government has turned its back on them. Ask the child considering self-harm or battling depression due to the isolation of the past year. Ask the students who are a year behind in learning. None of this is necessary.
Most school districts are going to ignore these unions, thankfully. But the unions still have considerable power when they bankroll and control politicians from the school board to the governor’s office to the White House. Watch as they work behind closed doors with the CDC’s Rochelle Walensky, who will ignore her own data to do them a favor. Students in large union-controlled districts will suffer — disproportionally low-income and minority students — and continue to fall behind their peers in saner parts of the country.
At the end of the spring semester, I heard from so many that I shouldn’t worry about the fall. That it would be impossible for teachers’ unions to attempt to keep doors locked in the fall. This fight was behind us, they said. Many on the right have moved on to address curriculum instead.
But the fight for open schools is not over. Despite Virginia’s new law mandating five days a week of in-person instruction, Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee for governor, is bankrolled by the unions. Despite the FDA not even granting an emergency-use authorization for vaccines for children under twelve yet, the unions are searching for ways to mandate vaccination as if the vaccines were fully authorized.
What we do already have on the books are laws mandating minimum hours of learning; those have been ignored for a year. We also have laws on the books protecting special-needs and disabled children; but school boards such as Fairfax County’s have looked the other way.
We cannot let our guard down. Without parents asserting our rights and our control of our schools, the unions will continue to try and harm our children when we’re not looking. It’s happening as we speak.