This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and as a mother of two teenagers, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation for the incredible teachers across America who work so hard to guide and educate our children.
This Teacher Appreciation Week comes at a complex and challenging time: the COVID-19 pandemic has kept too many kids home and struggling with virtual school.
This unique moment compels us to wholeheartedly thank our teachers for their hard work and nimbleness as they changed their entire curriculum to engage and educate our kids virtually, while examining what we need to do to get our kids back in the classroom, learning from our incredible educators in person.
Whether Joe Biden wants to admit it or not, the science on reopening schools is abundantly clear. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has concluded that community spread of COVID-19 in schools is low, and that children only need to be three feet apart to remain safe.
They have also concluded that it’s safe to reopen schools even without all teachers fully vaccinated. Thankfully, around 80% of educators have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, putting them in safe position to return to school. And we have known since the pandemic’s inception that COVID-19 doesn’t pose a severe threat to the vast majority of children.
Other research underscores the devastating consequences our children face due to school closures. Suicide rates among children are up as their mental health takes a hit without school, and the negative effects of school closures are especially felt among minority and low-income children.
We have heard from Democrats, over and over, that we must "follow the science" in order to beat COVID-19. Why, then, are so many of our kids not back in the classroom?
The fault doesn’t lie with our teachers, many of whom are eager to return to in-person schooling and have worked overtime to help our kids through endless virtual classes. Unfortunately, the fault lies squarely with powerful, left-wing special interest groups, which are approaching this complex situation with an eye to political expediency instead of our children’s welfare.
Randi Weingarten, head of the powerful American Federation of Teachers, offers a perfect example of teachers’ unions hurting kids and teachers alike by refusing to make progress on this key issue. She has continued to hold in-person meetings despite fighting to keep kids out of the classroom, been caught using a private plane to travel between events, and has even offered anti-Semitic attacks against her political opponents.
Over the weekend, it was reported that Weingarten’s union has been giving the Biden administration direction on when to loosen school restrictions, injecting her partisan, anti-science advocacy into the decision-making process that will determine our kids’ futures. This is cynical political opportunism. Our kids – and our teachers, who have sacrificed so much to educate them – deserve so much better.
This past weekend, Anita Dunn, one of Joe Biden’s chief advisers, said "we can’t look into a crystal ball" when asked about schools reopening in the fall. That is simply not good enough. Our teachers, and our kids, deserve better. When it comes to our kids’ welfare, Joe Biden should not be taking cues from union bosses.
He should be taking cues from parents and from teachers, who deserve our utmost appreciation this week and every week. Joe Biden must reverse his union-led ignorance of the science and allow our incredible teachers to get back to doing what they do best.