American Consequences - March 2021


district in the nation, with more than half a million students. Students have spent the entire 2020 to 2021 school year in virtual learning. In early March, despite increased vaccination rates, federal COVID relief funds directed at schools, and California Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent signing of a $6.6 billion relief package that would direct money to public schools reopening, the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) union refuses to budge... 91% of union members voted to refuse to return to in-person teaching. “UTLA members have voted overwhelmingly to resist a premature and unsafe physical return to school sites,” a spokesperson told local news reporters. According to the Wall Street Journal , the union also called the state’s efforts to reopen schools “a recipe for propagating structural racism.” Even in districts where teachers have been given priority access to vaccination, recalcitrant unions refuse to acknowledge

results of research showing that with proper precautions in place, schools can and should reopen . “There is accumulating data now that with high face-mask compliance, and distancing and cohorting of students to minimize the total number of contacts, we can minimize the amount of transmission in schools,” one CDC researcher told the New York Times . And yet, teachers unions in cities like Los Angeles have ignored such evidence, instead issuing their own reports that ignore the scientific evidence. The Los Angeles report listed both political and pandemic-related demands that it argues should be in place before they return to the classroom. The demands included the enactment of Medicare for All, a “millionaire’s tax,” defunding the police, and a ban on charter schools. Embracing the never-let-a-crisis-go-to-waste approach, the union report notes, “Normal wasn’t working for us before. We can’t go back.” Los Angeles is the second-largest school


March 2021

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