As Democrats continue their quest to continue to keep schools closed, to appease teachers’ unions, Republicans are pushing for a full return to crucial, in-person learning. Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration repeatedly claim that they are not beholden to the will of teachers’ unions, and that Democrats are “following the science.” Experts dispute this claim, though; data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) makes clear that students can return to in-person learning, with safety protocols in place, before all teachers are vaccinated.
New polling conducted by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), the GOP’s official Senate arm, shows that Americans agree that children should return to traditional, in-person learning after a year of coronavirus lockdowns.
The national survey of 1,200 voters conducted at the end of February found that 75 percent of those polled believe that schools should be open, while 19 percent favor keeping them closed. By party, 92 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of Democrats, and 73 percent of Independents, respectively, favored reopening schools in the survey. Despite Democratic lawmakers’ refusal to acknowledge the science supporting reopening schools, just 31 percent of Democrats surveyed agree that schools should stay closed; likewise, only 20 percent of Independent voters indicated opposition to liberating schools from closures.
On the Democrats’ appeasement of teachers’ unions over children, 53 percent of voters who took the survey indicated that the data from the CDC should be followed by reopening schools, while 36 percent said that teachers’ unions have the right to refuse to return to work if they feel unsafe. Likewise, 54 percent of those surveyed agreed that Democratic lawmakers are prioritizing teachers’ unions over the well-being of children and the wishes of parents because these groups bankroll Democratic campaigns; 33 percent of survey respondents did not believe that Democrats’ are in the pocket of teachers’ unions. Broken down by party, just 52 percent of Democrat-identified respondents said that their party is not beholden to teachers’ unions; 49 percent of Independents and 80 percent of Republicans surveyed acknowledged that Democratic lawmakers are legislating at the will of teachers’ unions.
While Democrats continue to oppose sending children back to in-person learning immediately, neither majority in Congress nor the Biden White House has laid out a clear plan to achieve an eventual return to the classroom.