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Disgrace: School Reopenings Delayed Further As Oakland Teachers Refuse to Return to Classrooms

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

None of this is an April Fools joke, unfortunately. California is among the very worst states in the union when it comes to in-person instruction during the pandemic. Public school students in the Golden State have been suffering all academic year, even as many private schools and public schools in other places have been open, safe and thriving. The science is settled. Remote learning for months on end has been a dismal failure, academic progress has been badly hampered by school closures, children are struggling mightily with the emotional and mental health fallout of extended isolation, and open schools are not a public health risk. And yet, some teachers unions continue to place adults' selfish interests above all other considerations – with some even starting to lay the groundwork for ongoing restrictions next school year. Here are two maps of the country, based on recent data. The lighter the shading, the more disgraceful and indefensible the situation: 

Kids in red states are being failed far less than kids in blue states, and blue state parents have Democratic special interests, powerful teachers unions, and idiotic, anti-science negative partisanship to thank. Here's the latest out of California, where an insanely belated plan to reopen classrooms is being delayed even further because teachers just straight-up don't want to do their jobs. Imagine hating children and science this much (and yes, in light of all that we know, this constitutes mind-numbing contempt for both): 

More than a dozen Oakland elementary schools and preschools will not reopen as planned Tuesday after the majority, if not all, teachers at the sites opted not to return until required to do so in mid-April, despite an $800 incentive and prioritized vaccinations. District officials had to rescind reopening plans at six elementary schools and 10 preschools Thursday, days before students in preschool through second grade were scheduled to head back after seven months of distance learning. Under an agreement between the district and the unions, those students were scheduled to return to school on March 30, with all elementary and at least one middle or high school grade back in schools by April 19. High-needs students across all grades, including homeless students, foster youth, English learners, disengaged students and those with special needs, among others, would also be able to return by mid-April. The lack of teachers volunteering could nullify an agreement between the union and district officials to pay all teachers a $2,000 stipend. The deal required there be enough teachers to ensure that priority students across all grades could return on March 30. That includes homeless students, foster youth, English learners and those struggling with distance learning...The district did not have enough substitutes or alternative staff members

These teachers demanded and got vaccine priority, and taxpayers threw in cash bonus incentives to get them to show up a few weeks ahead of the already scandalously-delayed deadline to teach young and "high needs" students. The teachers refused. Infuriating. Disadvantaged families are stuck with this system and these awful people because many cannot afford private school expenses. And they have little hope of school choice lifelines being tossed their way because they live in areas dominated by "progressives" who insist on trapping children in failing government schools. And when it comes to "progress," the Bay Area is basically a cartoon:

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced details for the city’s new guaranteed income program Tuesday, solidifying plans to provide monthly payments to Oakland families. The pilot program will be one of the nation’s largest, with 600 families able to receive $500 a month for 18 months. The money does not come with job requirements or other conditions for those who receive it.  Families will need to meet basic income requirements and can begin applying to the program later this spring. Participants will be selected randomly and money could hit bank accounts as early as the summer...[the program] is open to both undocumented residents and unhoused families. Eligible families must be low-income and identify as Black, Indigenous or people of color.

That's right, in Oakland's pilot program on universal basic income, any family below a certain income level is eligible to receive unrestricted cash payments, including illegal immigrants, except for white people. Nearby Marin County is getting in on the action, too, offering $1,000 monthly in their own pilot program, which is exclusively open to low-income households led by women of color. I'll let the lawyers determine if this outright racial discrimination is legal or not, but that's certainly what it is. Imagine being a low-earning single white mom trying to raise kids in Oakland. Your children have not been in school since last spring, their teachers still won't show up for work, and you're not eligible to apply for a (wildly unsustainable) income program because of the color of your skin. So much progress. I'll leave you with more hedging nonsense from the Biden administration. I keep assuming full-time in-person schooling is a slam dunk for the fall, but I might be wrong: 

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