After a new report showed major school districts who accepted billions of dollars from the federal government in order to stay open amid coronavirus, many critics have called out teachers and their union leaders who suddenly are loath to return to their job.
The report from the Daily Wire showed Chicago schools took $1.8 billion in taxpayer money, Atlanta $200 million and Detroit $800 million, to top the list – while all currently remaining physically closed to students. Critics like former George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen said Wednesday cyber-education is no substitute for having children in the classroom.
AFT President Randi Weingarten recently tweeted that “until this [viral] surge, virtually all public schools were open for in person learning.”
“We got it right for most of this current school year; now the adults have to work together and double down to get it right as we confront this surge. Omicron’s the enemy not each other,” the union boss wrote.
On “The Story” Thursday, host Martha MacCallum asked if acceptance of federal funds without returning to the buildings – combined with allocation of relief money to left-wing “anti-racism” and “bias trainings” – should be considered misappropriation of tax money.
Thiessen believed that it should.
“Especially – because they said that they needed the money to reopen the schools,” he said.
“Now they’re not reopening. Literally, the justification for the money was for local school districts that were saying, ‘We can’t reopen without this money.’ Now they’re not.”
“The teacher’s unions in Chicago: 75% of Chicago teachers voted not to return to in-person learning. Any teacher who refuses to teach in this environment is engaged in child abuse; they should not be teaching,” Thiessen stressed.
Thiessen suggested that school administrators and local officials should take a page from President Reagan and fire anyone who refuses to return, especially since they were provided the necessary resources at taxpayer expense.
In 1981, Reagan fired more than 11,000 air traffic controllers who violated his order for them to return to work after striking over pay raises and working condition disagreements. Reagan’s action lead to the initial pain of thousands of canceled flights — though then-union boss Robert Poli was found guilty of a contempt charge relating to failure to comply with a return-to-work order.
“What the school districts [and] mayors ought to do is do what Ronald Reagan did when the air traffic controllers refused to work and fire any teacher who doesn’t show up for work,” Thiessen said.
“There’s no excuse. This is not about protecting kids… COVID is not a risk to these kids in a serious way. You know what is? Not being in school. Since COVID hit a 51% increase in suicide among teenage girls. You have poor kids that are having learning losses from which they will never recover.”