The Fight to Keep Schools Closed Has Proven Thomas Sowell Right About Teachers’ Unions.Their willingness to put children last and fight to keep schools closed has proven once and for all that teachers’ unions do not, in fact, have kids’ best interests at heart.….
Why have our elected officials chosen to shut down schools despite all the evidence?
Contrary to what you may think, it is not primarily because of scientific recommendations made by experts, but rather largely due to deals cut between politicians and teachers’ unions. This is evidenced by a working paper authored by two political science professors that looked at over 10,000 school districts across the country. It found that regardless of the virus’s actual prevalence in local communities, districts with stronger teachers’ unions were less likely to reopen schools for in-person learning.
In New York City, for example, the United Federation of Teachers struck a deal with Mayor Bill de Blasio. They agreed that teachers would only return to the classroom if the mayor promised to re-close schools if the city’s COVID-19 positivity rate—the percentage of tests coming back positive—hit 3 percent. The positivity rate inevitably rose above that low 3 percent bar, and the schools were promptly closed down again.
If science had actually been paramount to this decision, it would be important to note that while the city-wide positivity rate was 3 percent, the positivity rate within schools themselves was only 0.15 percent. There was no actual scientific reason to close schools down again. But far more influential than scientific considerations were raw politics—raw politics at the expense of children’s education.