While many of the nation’s industries are starting to creep out from under the effects of the Covid dilemma, our school systems throughout the nation may end up as the real victims, once they open up their doors in September to the first post-epidemic school year. But it appears, sure as hell, the evidence of decreasing numbers will be mortifying. Estimates are that more than 2 million kids will not plop themselves into their traditional public school seats but instead, will move over to parochial, charter, private and the ever growing, home schooling.
A recent New York Times op-ed article claimed that families forming “pods,” where families band together to help small groups of kids learn at home, is the latest innovation threatening the current public school monopoly that is starting to crumble. The fact that huge majority of students have been legally AWOL from school for nearly two years because of Covid, millions have opted for alternative forms of education and have seen the benefits of their choices. They will not go back to the public schools. We agree with them. But the teacher unions don’t…and you didn’t need us to tell you, did you?
They are fighting for their monopoly and are attacking the alternatives they consider their enemies, with venom. Oregon’s teachers union, during the heart of the crisis, successfully lobbied to make it illegal for families to access virtual charter schools. Those in Pennsylvania and California blocked families from switching to virtual charter schools. In California they stopped funding for charters. And a coalition of 10 teacher unions showed their true political colors in joining with the Democratic Socialists of America in calling for a ban on new charter schools and private school voucher programs and in a real chutzpah move, the Los Angeles teachers union called for an outright ban on all charter schools. Teacher unions are the flies in the educational system.
We are concerned that the Biden administration and his health officials, including the self-identified “Doctor of Truth,” Anthony Fauci, will jump upon any forthcoming health pandemic, no matter how trivial, to call for the closing of one-on-one teaching, to bring education down still further. That’s why American families are re-evaluating the structure of K-12 education funding and are starting to call for public tax dollars to go to alternative forms of education that weathered the pandemic. Just as with many other taxpayer funded payouts such as Pell grants, food stamps and Medicaid, education dollars should go directly to students and their families.
They should be able to use these funds for bonafide education benefits. They should have the opportunities for school choice. Right now, most of our school age children must go to the public school assigned to them by local officials based on where they live. Written in stone. No choice for them. But parents are waking up. They realize that teacher unions who control legislators’ rulings, have only the welfare of their dues paying members in mind, not their students. This is pushing them to un-enroll their kids from the public schools and into their selected ones, whether charter, parochial or home schooled, where they have a voice, and input into their children’s education. It looks like the pandemic and the failure of our educational leaders has been the straw that broke the back of our failing educational system and teacher unions. Let’s see if those fighting for educational growth and freedom have the numbers and will to endure and succeed. We’re with them.