On Monday, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the nation's second-largest public school system, announced that every child will not be returning to their classrooms this fall and will be forced to attend classes via digital, at-home learning protocols.
On the very same day, St. John Bosco High School, a prestigious Catholic school in Los Angeles county just seventeen miles from downtown LA announced it'd open their classrooms to its students for full-time, five-day-a-week learning next month.
What's the difference between Bosco and LAUSD? Why has the private school figured out how to accommodate basic COVID safety protocols for regular classroom functions and the government-run school system can't?
It appears the difference could be the California teacher's union whose leadership presented a fact-challenged paper making a series of demands on the school district to meet before their membership would agree to return to the classroom.
The statement includes social justice buzz phrases that should easily explain that there's a serious political agenda behind their position, not a serious scientific approach.
"There is a jarringly disparate rate of COVID-19 infection, severe illness, and death among Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) working communities, where structural racism and economic inequality mean people live with economic and social factors that increase risk of illness and death," the statement reads.
The paper also demands federal government interventions like a federal bailout, full funding of "Title 1" and... wait for it... Medicare for All! That's right, in their "research paper" on the conditions that must be met before their membership returns to the classroom, the LA teachers union calls for Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez's government takeover of the health system.
In addition, the paper calls for a wealth tax, a millionaire tax, defunding of the police and, well...
CRAZY: An LA teacher's union wants to keep schools shut til their demands are met.— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) July 13, 2020
- Charter schools shut down
- Wealth tax
- Millionaire tax
- Increase property tax
- Defund police
- Financial aid for illegal aliens
- Federal bailout of CA schoolshttps://t.co/Abstz7PsC3
So, clearly, the government-run schools in Los Angeles won't be re-opening for quite some time.
What's a parent to do?
In his statement to parents, LAUSD Superintendent Dr. Austin Beutner said, "We all know the best place for students to learn is in a school setting." If that's true, isn't it responsible for parents to put their children in the best place for them to learn? Of course.
Parents know that their kids will get a better education in a school setting rather than using the flawed digital classrooms the government-run schools have been struggling with.
Isn't the most responsible decision for a parent in this circumstance to pull their kids from the government school and place them in a private school that has figured this out?
That's why this is the perfect opportunity for President Trump to make available school-choice scholarships for parents faced with this dilemma. If the teachers unions and the school administrators can't figure out how to provide the best learning environment for America's children, then parents must be empowered to seek that education elsewhere.
This is the moment for school choice in America.
If the teachers unions and the Democrats who run the school systems in America's largest cities insist on injecting their politics and agenda into the scientific discussion regarding our children's education, then the president must take this opportunity to promote what he recently called "the civil rights [issue] of all time."
The teachers unions are trying to achieve goals that they have long been striving for (federal bailouts, defunding charter schools, more teacher hires to accommodate smaller class sizes) without having to win those concessions at the collective bargaining table. They are holding our children hostage with COVID-19 fear-mongering for their own political ends.
President Trump must not let them get away with it.
Federal funds that are usually devoted to school districts to educate impoverished children can be re-allocated as scholarships for parents so those children can gain admittance in any of the myriad private schools that are capable of in-class instruction.
No longer will a child's zip code or their parent's income be an impediment to quality education.
The timing is perfect for President Trump to be bold. He should not, as they say, let a good crisis go to waste.