The political scandal of the year so far is unfolding in plain sight in Chicago, where the teachers union has effectively shut down the public schools. Will this finally cause President Biden to speak up for children? Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is showing the way.
Chicago schools were supposed to be open Wednesday, but they shut down after the Chicago Teachers Union voted against in-person learning. The CTU says it won’t relent until the surge in Covid-19 cases has subsided, or the school district signs an agreement “establishing conditions for return” approved by the CTU.
Even Mayor Lori Lightfoot is unhappy, correctly noting that Chicago’s classrooms are safe and accusing the union of an “illegal work stoppage.” She added that teachers who didn’t show up Wednesday would be put on no-pay status. We’ll see how long that lasts given how powerful the CTU is in Democratic politics.
The CTU action comes as we are learning about the full—and unnecessary—costs inflicted on children in the name of Covid prevention. These include mental-health issues, losing ground academically, and the lack of normal socialization. This damage has all been done even though children remain among the least at risk for a severe case of Covid.
On CBS’s “Face the Nation” this weekend, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona also emphasized that schools can be opened safely. “We know what works, and I believe even with Omicron, our default should be in-person learning for all students across the country.”