In my analysis of the Virginia elections on the main site and in a column last week, I discussed a phenomenon I described as “Revenge of the Parents.” There are many factors related to the education issue that came together for Glenn Youngkin on Tuesday — the CRT battle, broader curriculum fights, the Loudoun County school rape cover up, etc. But the seeds for the backlash were all planted by unnecessary school closures.
I’ve said it a number of times, but the closure of schools was simply the most destructive public-policy decision in modern American history. If your children were in public schools in the Democratic-run commonwealth of Virginia, you felt the direct effects of closures that dragged on for a year in a number of districts. As your family suffered from distance learning, you had to endure the endless lies, excuses, and shifting goal posts from unionized teachers delaying opening as Democratic politicians deferred to them at every point. Unionized teachers in some parts of Virginia even skipped the vaccination line ahead of more vulnerable populations and still wouldn’t return to work. At the same time, you saw how private schools in your area, and public schools in Republican-run areas and around the world, reopened safely. The school closures, in other words, were not about science, but the selfishness of unionized teachers and the cravenness of Democrats who did their bidding. On election eve, Terry McAuliffe still had to appear with Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who was likely more responsible than any single human being for these policies.
I was going back and forth a bit on the schools issue on Twitter with the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent, who believes that the CRT issue was a hoax manufactured by Republican operatives and peddled in conservative media to scare up votes. But here’s the thing. Not only did school closures enrage parents, but they also made parents much more intimately familiar with what their children were being taught in public schools. If all the same people who shut down your children’s school for a year and lied about it are telling you the CRT fight is all a big hoax, are you going to give them the benefit of the doubt?
Everybody involved in the school-closures policy deserves to suffer for the damage they inflicted on children and the disruption they caused to parents. On Tuesday, many of them did suffer. May we enjoy their pain and hope they never consider imposing such a policy again.