The first day of in-person public school in the West Ada School District in Idaho was canceled on Monday after over 600 teachers called off work in an apparent “sick-out.”
“We are sadly unable to safely hold school tomorrow due to supervision concerns. This includes students enrolled in Virtual Schoolhouse, and students who would have been learning remotely,” the district said in a statement. “We are continuing to work with the West Ada Education Association to find solutions to their concerns so we can hold school on Wednesday.”
Classes were canceled on Monday after 652 teachers called in sick, leaving the district with far too few substitutes to fill in the gaps.
The planned “sick-outs” came after the West Ada School Board voted to allow students to return to in-person classes on alternating days starting Monday, despite Ada County being in the “red” category. Multiple teachers at the meeting expressed concern that safety measures put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 were inadequate or would not be followed in an in-person learning setting.
As a mother who is dealing with the public school roller coaster and a freshman in college who is not really in college but pretending to be in college from his computer, and as someone who has friends and family who are vulnerable to this virus and some even incredibly ill with this virus, I have one thing to say about this sick-out:
FIRE. THEM. ALL.
Fire every last one. Fire them for being science-deniers. They’re teachers, for crying out loud. It shouldn’t be that hard to find the transmission numbers among students and see that COVID transmission is nearly non-existent and, in fact, there is ample evidence that children don’t even pass it on very well. They are less “sticky”, meaning the virus, for whatever reason, doesn’t really “stick” to them and then “shed” elsewhere. All of the school numbers from March of 2020 up until this very moment support that. We need teachers who believe in science and information and data. We need teachers who go find information instead of waiting for it to be delivered to them. We need curious teachers. If you’re denying science you really have no place in the public school system.
FIRE. THEM. ALL.
Fire them for not being able to perform their jobs. It is completely understandable that some teachers, particularly older teachers, just don’t feel comfortable returning to a classroom. COVID is scary, for some more than others. No one should be ashamed for feeling like they just don’t want to be out and about at work or socializing. That is a very personal choice. But part of being an adult is taking responsibility for your own decisions. If you feel you can’t do the job you’ve agreed to do — for whatever reasons — it is your responsibility to quit. Go find other work that doesn’t require you to be in a classroom with children. It is not the responsibility of children and parents to keep you safe. That is your own job. If you cannot perform the tasks you collect a salary for, then leave. This is not the job for you. In any other sector, we would fire someone and then probably tell jokes about them incessantly if they came to our business and said they don’t want to work but they do want to get paid to work. Teachers are no different than the rest of us. Perform or move on. It’s been a shitty time for all of us. Deal with it.
FIRE. THEM. ALL.
Fire them because contracts-be-damned, they’ve broken their trust with the Idaho taxpayers — people who have sacrificed so much, their jobs, their businesses, their homes. Teachers are still being paid while many of the parents of their own students have had to seek public aid after having to quit a meager job just to be able to stay home with their children while schools piddle around with the science of reopening. The teachers have not organized against the school district, they’ve organized against their students. Fire them and deal with the contractual fallout as it comes. 2020 has already been an epic manure tornado, what’s one more pile of poop to climb?
FIRE. THEM. ALL
Fire them because, since the Janus decision, no teacher or any American worker can be compelled to join a union in order to be employed. The West Ada School District is free to hire any teachers from anywhere regardless of their union affiliations (or lack thereof) and, in fact, it is exactly what they should do. Actually, here’s an application form for substitute teachers in West Ada. If you’re a fledgling teacher and you’re young, healthy, and strong, and have the ability to be mobile, maybe it would be worth relocating for a year or two. In California, the teacher unions have such a hold on the system that it is very hard to find a teaching position here. Many younger teachers scrape and scramble for new opening positions, taking jobs as aides until the union deems an older teacher can retire and make space. Maybe some of those young people might think about getting some experience outside of the state.
FIRE. THEM. ALL.
Fire them because for too long we’ve let the institution become more important than the people it supposedly serves. It’s time for a change. If everyday Americans are asked to make big changes to how they live, the teachers must do the same. Get in the classroom or quit. You’re not entitled to your job. No one is.