Klain: The Reason Schools Aren't Reopening Has Nothing to Do with Teachers Unions

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Posted: Jan 26, 2021 10:00 PM
Klain: The Reason Schools Aren't Reopening Has Nothing to Do with Teachers Unions

Source: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain on Tuesday night went to bat for teachers unions that are hellbent on sticking to remote learning. According to Klain, teachers aren't responsible for schools remaining on lockdown. 

CNN's Erin Burnett pointed out that transmission of the Wuhan coronavirus at schools is almost nonexistent.

"In Chicago, teachers unions this weekend voted to continue remote learning. They were about to open. Town of Montclair, New Jersey, schools were scheduled to reopen for hybrid learning. For elementary school kids it'd be the first day back in person since March of last year, 10 months. But then they scrapped plans at the last minute after the local teacher' union refused to turn to classrooms," she explained. "Ron, why do you think the unions, in many cases, are overruling what the studies show?"

"I don’t think unions are overruling studies. I think what you’re seeing schools that haven’t made the investments to keep students safe," he replied. 

Klain stated an example where one school is cutting class sizes down to 12 students per class – what's called "pods" – as a way of helping prevent transmission. Having to have that small of a class size is what has prevented some schools from hiring more teachers. Having more classes means more classrooms are needed. According to Klain, those things come down to funding.

It sounds like the Biden administration is in denial about what's taking place across this nation. Students are struggling to learn remotely. They miss their friends. They miss social interaction. They miss being a kid. That's just the social aspect of this problem. It's making the assumption the family has the ability to obtain internet and pay for it on a reoccurring basis. Rural America doesn't have that luxury. 

Teachers are being selfish in this situation. They've gotten used to having the luxury of remote learning, which allows them to work from home or in the classroom by themselves. They're put at the top of the vaccine list, along with first responders and health care workers, yet they don't want to go back to work. We kept hearing they'd be willing to go back once a vaccine is here and distributed. The government is living up to their end of the bargain. Now the teachers need to do the same.

The teachers unions. however, want it both ways. They want the benefits of being an essential worker who is put at the front of the line but then when it comes to putting themselves out there to do their job, they refuse to do so. They're the only group of essential workers that get the luxury of staying home. Doctors, nurses, EMTs, cops and firefighters still show up. 

Why is it that teachers are being put on a pedestal when the rest of our essential workers aren't?