May 20, 2022

Will Biden Payoff to Teachers Unions Repeal Suburban Parents?

You expect a certain number of stumbles from a new administration. President Joe Biden’s incoming team professed dismay at having to create a coronavirus vaccine distribution program “from scratch,” due to its predecessor’s handling of the situation, and this week, Biden complained that “we didn’t have” a vaccine when he “came into office.” He promised to deliver over 1 million a day.

But actually, there were 1.6 million vaccinations administered on Inauguration Day, and Biden had received the two doses of the vaccine on Dec. 21 and Jan. 11. It’s easier to achieve your goal if you set the goal posts past a mark already reached.

Will something similar work for reopening schools? On July 6 last year, then-President Donald Trump called for reopening schools for the fall semester. Science was on his side. Numerous studies showed low rates of infection and illness among children — more kids die from influenza than COVID-19 — and negligible transmission to teachers in schools here and abroad.

But Trump’s statement evidently politicized the issue and sparked increased opposition to school openings among parents and teachers. And, importantly, among teachers unions, which contribute enormous amounts of money and manpower to Democratic politicians.

The results are writ large on the map. Less than 20% of public schools are open in the three West Coast states. Well under half are open in Democratic states such as Illinois and Minnesota, and in strong teachers union states such as North Carolina and Virginia. More than 80% are open in Republican-governed Florida, Texas, Utah and the Dakotas.

There is no doubt that school closings have hurt kids. Instruction over tablets is far less effective than in person; children lose touch with friends and miss chances to exercise; disadvantaged kids without computers fall far behind. For an especially vivid and heartbreaking account, see reporter Alec MacGillis’ piece in ProPublica.

The case for reopening the schools is strong enough, despite Trump’s advocacy, to persuade liberal commentators such as MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait and political scientist Lee Drutman.

Impassioned pleas for reopening appeared recently from liberals such as Dr. Rebecca Bodenheimer in Oakland, California, and epidemiologist Benjamin Linas in Brookline, Massachusetts. The school board in affluent and long-integrated Montclair, New Jersey, is suing its teachers union to open the schools.

Of the same view, it seems, is Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “There is increasing data,” she said at the White House on Feb. 3, “to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated.” She was quickly undercut by White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who absurdly said Walensky was just speaking “in her personal capacity.” Psaki later added that opening 50% of schools one day a week would be enough.

By Feb. 14, the goal posts were moved. Walensky was forced to echo, unconvincingly, new CDC guidelines developed with “stakeholders” (i.e., teachers unions) that didn’t mandate five-day in-person instruction but did impose mandatory six-feet social distancing (Walensky had said three feet was enough for her hometown of Newton, Massachusetts, last summer) and mandatory masking. “It takes only a modicum of sense to realize,” writes economist Tyler Cowen, “if you tell people that six feet of distance is needed, in essence you are saying that a safe reopening is impossible altogether.”

The guidelines also recommend against a full reopening of upper grades in counties with “low” or “moderate” COVID-19 transmission — a standard that includes 99% of the country, according to Erika Sanzi, founder of the education platform Project Forever Free. Despite Biden’s town hall assurance that he wants schools reopened, the guidelines seem designed to let teachers unions keep schools closed.

The goal posts have been moved a long way, if off the field altogether, from candidate Biden’s promise to reopen schools to assurance to guidelines whose fine print allows many to stay closed.

There are broader lessons here. One of the problems of big government is that, over time, it incentivizes politicians — here Democrats, but sometimes Republicans, too — to favor the providers of services over the intended beneficiaries of services. Teachers unions are organized; kids and parents are not.

Another lesson is that no organized interest has an eternal lock on the system. Parents can flee from public school systems closed by unions to other school districts or private schools. That’s already happening, to some unknown extent.

Voters have a say, too. Some Republicans see teachers union shutdowns as a prime 2022 issue, particularly in affluent suburbs that parents chose for their public schools. Will this early stumble lead to a crash landing? We’ll see.

Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.


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Wayne (@guest_1146084)
1 year ago

He sure is not thinking of the children That are not getting a good education ,

Katherine (@guest_1146154)
Reply to  Wayne
1 year ago

Free speech Facebook???

Joanne Rundle (@guest_1147532)
Reply to  Wayne
1 year ago

They need to just get these damn schools open already the science is there. If teachers don’t want teach fire them and hire new that will. Ridiculous these kids need normalization of some kind in their lives.

DONNA MARIE KELLEY (@guest_1146103)
1 year ago


Freedom Of Speech (@guest_1146158)
1 year ago


Bradley D Wolfe (@guest_1146106)
1 year ago

Well, like I said before. The Democrats wanted BIden so badly, they are willing to cheat and lie to get him into office. Now, everybody has to pay because of them. Remember that, Democrats. You got what you wished for. Be careful next time what you wish for. Now your children are paying, as well as the rest of the country. It’s time to impeach the lot of them. They have lied and have not kept their oath’s to coming into office. That is a offense for Treason.

porterv (@guest_1146128)
1 year ago

Are these teachers getting paid to stay home? If so, that’s your problem. Cut off their paychecks and the teachers, and their unions, will be clamoring for the schools to reopen.

JDavis951 (@guest_1146146)
1 year ago

WE THE PEOPLE (aka SILENT MAJORITY) have had countless opportunities to have stopped this nightmare, but we chose instead to give the DEMOCRATS what they expected of us, to REMAIN SILENT! Thus, making us equally complicit in the fraud perpetrated against United States Americans!

Isn’t it time you actually did something, took action?

I strongly urge everyone who reads this to PICK UP THE PHONE and call your REP AND SENATORS in DC and DEMAND a COMPLETE AUDIT AND INVESTIGATION into the 2020 ELECTIONS and for the IMMEDIATE IMPEACHMENT OF BIDEN AND HARRIS.

BIDEN is completely UNFIT FOR OFFICE! And they both (BIDEN & HARRIS) have family members putting them both in a CONCLICT of interest position advertising and promoting their businesses and using their VP and POTUS both as an advertising self-interest, self-promoting position and it is ILLEGAL!

People should write these numbers down and use them frequently even if you don’t think your elected officials listen, they are required to note your comments for the permanent record in their caller database for anyone to see.

Members of the House

Members of the Senate


One call per rep!


Jay (@guest_1146190)
1 year ago

That shows how fair and honest that democrats are it’s sad that people are either blind, dumb, don’t care, anti-American, stupid. I can’t see any reason why anyone should vote for a democrat for what they stand for killing babies(abortion) and other anti bible principles they seem to be the most that hold to lows morals, the anti bible of the two parties I had been a democrat for 40 years and my eyes was open no more democrat I can’t belong to a party that holds to that kind of standard and holds to bible truth, I will have to stand before a holey God and give an account what I stood for bible principles or men’s.

richard (@guest_1146310)
Reply to  Jay
1 year ago

here in New Mexico is a good example of what the USA is becoming. We ar the worst in every way you can think off. It is very sad that the children have to pay in their education. What is the reason for us being the very baddest in the USA , the people make the same mistake that there have been making over the last 20 years. Who has been running this state for the last 20 years DEMOCRATS DEMOCRATS DEMOCRATS

Ray Wadinski (@guest_1146324)
1 year ago

Puppet in the eyes of leaders around the world and here. He is more concerned with being woke, cancel culture, appeasing big business the media, china, Iran, foreign and domestic (blm), (fafa) terrorists, illegals. His eo’s are undoing the safety of this Nation.

Debby (@guest_1146387)
1 year ago

U.N. & Gates want kids wear mask sit in front of computer for hrs.They are putting together a Doisia about your Children every moved smile frown this will be used for tracking kids & your home Global Citizen.Pres.Trump said the money follows the Children.Homeschool your kids.Gates is involved in racist white privilege pedophilia teachers get kids off that Computer it’s a set up.Gates needs to go to Prison.Mask,Vac,Schools, Farming Food Depopulation Sick Man

Janice (@guest_1146822)
1 year ago

This Senile old man does not care one fig about any of us, and we better figure that out real soon. He for sure does not care about the children here. He’s robbing all of them of an education that they deserve, and we, the taxpayers have paid for. Stop paying the teachers and watch how fast they come back to schools. This is BS paying them for sitting on their rears.

Leah (@guest_1147240)
Reply to  Janice
1 year ago
Leah (@guest_1147265)
1 year ago

Biden family is corrupt, taking money for doing favorable, but illegal dealings with other counties including China – Biden and Harris need to be impeached. We also need to get rid of Pelosi and Schumer. How do they get away with all this crap. Biden has tried to get rid of all the good things Trump has done for our country. He was the winner and should be our legal President and the democrats did so many illegal things, they need to be sent to jail. We have never had a president that has worked so hard for our country and people. He doesn’t owe anyone favors, so he is able to run the country. A good business person has helped get us out of all the world issues and focus on getting us back to focus on things that help our workers and do what is right.

Goodbye to all the riots, political illegals issues – put them in jail,, and support Trump.

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1 year ago

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1 year ago

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Javiernop (@guest_1253439)
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