Politics makes for strange bedfellows. Listen to this quote from a politician and see if you can guess the political persuasion. “If you care about our students, if you care about our families, as we do, we will not relent. Enough is enough. We are standing firm and we are going to fight to get our kids back to in-person learning. Period. Full stop.” Hearing that quote, you might think I am reading from a right-wing political pundit. In reality, that is a direct quote from the leftist mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot.
Mayor Lightfoot said those words in response to the Chicago Teachers Union’s sudden decision to stay home rather than come to work last month. The union said that they would be open to remote instruction, but the school district refused, citing the fact that remote instruction is an absolutely unacceptable substitute for actual classroom learning for most students.
This strange standoff pit two groups of leftists against one another. On one side, you have the teachers unions that don’t want to go to work. On the other side, you have Democrat politicians who know they will get roasted by parents if they don’t pretend to be supporters of in-person learning. They learned that lesson the hard way by being slow to reopen schools in the early days of Covid. The parents’ rights groups sprouting up throughout the nation made them see the light, as concerned constituents often do.
Wherever the battle lines may be drawn, there is no question who the loser is when schools shut down because of Covid. Students and their families are the real victims. Sadly, teachers unions don’t care about students. They don’t really care about teachers either. At the end of the day, teachers unions, like most other unions, only care about securing more political power for themselves. Sure, they use teachers and students to achieve this end, but don’t mistake this political gamesmanship for genuine concern. Parents should not count on unions to take care of their kids. Parents themselves are the best judges of what is best for their children, and parents agree that in-person learning is the way to go.