Every time property owners are asked to pay more in taxes to their state and local governments, they’re assured, “It’s for the children.”
Property taxes that subsidize public education, they’re told, should be viewed as an investment in children’s — and America’s — future.
Many Americans will have a hard time swallowing that line next time they go to the polls, however, because it’s become increasingly clear we are not, in fact, “all in this together.”
Millions of Americans are out of work because politicians and government bureaucrats deemed the product or service they offered “non-essential.” It’s easy for someone to decide who gets to stay employed when they aren’t in danger of missing a paycheck themselves.
And while workplaces across the country are struggling to keep shelves stocked, deliveries moving and paychecks signed, one group of Americans has been forced to sit powerless as they fall further behind in everyday life and their futures look increasingly uncertain — school children.
In March and April, America’s students were told they’d get a longer spring break while the adults figured out how to re-open. In May, most schools moved to online education with largely dismal results — canceled sports, proms and graduations, disastrous conference call classrooms, missed homework, and increased depression and anxiety.
Now, America is six months into the pandemic, approaching the end of what kids used to refer to as “summer break,” and not only is there no solid plan for getting students back to the classroom, but the teachers’ unions are increasingly erecting roadblocks to returning to some semblance of normalcy.
How is it that daycares have been open for months without any apparent threat to society, but school-age children cannot receive the in-person learning needed to move forward in their education?
The answer is daycares aren’t run by government unions.
Teacher unions have been powerful political players for decades, but they are flexing their muscles like never before, leaning on state and local officials and causing untold damage to the country in the process.
When kids can’t go to school, childcare arrangements must be made. Parents can’t go to work or have to juggle working from home and educating their students. Children fall behind in their lessons and remain isolated from peers and trusted adults.
The pain and inconvenience continue.
And it’s no coincidence.
Countries around the world have successfully re-opened their schools and, as a result, their societies are returning to their productive normal. But American teachers’ unions are playing obstructionists because there’s an election coming up and you never let a crisis go to waste.
Northern Virginia schools are opening online-only — but only four days a week. Every Monday will now be a teacher “planning day,” with no formal instruction for the students.
Hundreds of Oregon teachers protested across the state to prevent in-person instruction until counties can report no new COVID cases for two full weeks.
Two cities ravaged by riots, Portland, Ore., and Washington, D.C., have announced their schools will not open until the first week of November — after the 2020 election.
Then there are the blatant political demands.
A new semester begins in Los Angeles on August 18, but the LA teachers’ union has called on local authorities to keep campuses closed until their list of demands are met.
And what are their demands? Ample supplies of masks and hand sanitizer? Seats moved further apart? Plexiglass barricades around their desks?
No. The LA teachers’ union is holding off on opening schools until new laws are enacted abolishing charter and private schools, eliminating evictions for renters who can’t make payments, removing school resource officers, and defunding law enforcement in general.
One demand the LA teachers’ union did not make was to suspend tax collections from the property owners stuck looking at empty schools and spending their days trying to learn their children’s math lessons.
None of this is for the children. These teachers’ unions and their puppet politicians are holding America’s kids and parents hostage to a left-wing ideology in an election year.
Teachers’ union leaders are betting that continued discomfort will help them in November, regardless of what it does to the children’s — and America’s — future.
Parents, property owners, and voters everywhere should remember that.
Jason Dudash is the Oregon State Director for the Freedom Foundation, a free-market organization committed to helping free public sector employees from government union tyranny.