Chicago Teachers Union Stoops to New Low in Continuing Effort to Block School Reopenings

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Lest you think Chicago only remains in the national spotlight on a regular basis because of the blood-soaked streets of the city’s murderous Southside, think again. The Chicago Teachers Union continues to refuse to return its teachers to public schools — resorting to hollow excuse after hollow excuse and ridiculous tactic after ridiculous tactic.

Now the powerful union has stooped to a troubling new low.

As reported by CBS News affiliate WBBM TV in Chicago, the union last week sent a letter to its members instructing them not to inform Chicago Public Schools when or if they receive COVID-19 vaccines.

“Wait to respond to the [CPS] vaccination survey,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said in the letter to the union’s more than 20,000 members. “I don’t have a problem with people answering this kind of survey,” he insisted, but “I do have a problem with CPS not bargaining it with us.”

This week, CPS released a plan to reopen city high schools for in-person instruction on April 19. And yet again, the CTU refused to budge, issuing a defiant statement.

“We have no agreement on returning to in-person learning in high schools on any date, nor will there be an agreement until we know our school buildings can reopen safely,” the union said in a defiant statement, WBBM reported. The report also noted that as of last week, the CPS website vaccination page showed that while 16,500 faculty and staff had been offered vaccinations, only about 4,200 reported receiving the vaccine.

Here’s a bit of background, as reported by The Blaze.

For more than two months, the union has clashed with the city’s school system, Chicago Public Schools, over its plan to resume in-person instruction. The union’s complaint centered around allegedly inadequate safety protocols, despite the city spending $100 million to make schools coronavirus-safe.

Last month, the district finally opened its doors to tens of thousands of students attending kindergarten through eighth grade after weeks of tense negotiation between the union and CPS.

The union originally voted to defy the reopening plan and threatened to strike if any teachers were disciplined for refusing to return to the classroom. As part of its reasoning, the union claimed teachers’ vaccination schedules were unsatisfactory.

But now the union is reportedly stalling any further reopening plans by instructing members not to disclose whether they have been vaccinated or not in a survey being circulated to faculty and staff.

Whether it’s Chicago, Los Angeles, or any city where overly-powerful teachers unions continue to block teachers from returning to in-person learning, one thing is clear: unions, formed ostensibly to help America’s teachers better educate America’s children, have instead become a public menace, as study after study continues to reveal the potential long-term impact on students due to school lockdowns; including “psychological distress.”

Worse? The above link is to a study conducted in May of 2020. In the ten subsequent months, multiple studies have found the same potential long-term damage to our kids.

And yet, the Chicago Teachers Union’s continuing intransigence comes on the heels of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcement last month that school reopenings should not be conditioned on teacher vaccinations. And, as noted by The Blaze, as much as the rest of the country is “waking to the idea that a return to in-person instruction is absolutely vital for the health of America’s children.

Speaking of which, as reported by The Washington Journal on Wednesday in an article titled “Florida Schools Reopened Without Becoming Covid-19 Superspreaders,” schools in the state have maintained case rates lower than those in the wider community.

Florida was one of the earliest to resume in-person instruction — in August. In the seven months since, the Sunshine State’s schools have not only avoided major outbreaks of Covid-19; they have also maintained case rates lower than those in the wider community, with 80 percent of students in Florida now attending schools in-person full- or part-time.

Even normally-embattled Democrat Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has continually called out the Chicago Teachers Union for operating based solely on political motives. During a recent interview with the New York Times, Lightfoot said:

“When you have unions that have other aspirations beyond being a union, and maybe being something akin to a political party, then there’s always going to be conflict.”

Here’s the thing, Chicago Teachers Union. When even Beetlejuice Lori Lightfoot is right when she calls you out for acting solely based on your own selfish political motives? Hell yeah, you’re acting solely based on your own selfish political motives.

Throughout history, those who have most suffered the consequences of actions by misguided adults are the children. Some things never change. Not even at the hands of adults who committed themselves to teach our children.

What a great name for a song.