- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 17, 2020

Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, just announced that he wants his state of Washington to open schools for in-person instruction, COVID-19 case counts be danged. Well, COVID-19 case counts almost be danged.

Still, what a remarkable move for a Democrat. In these coronavirus shut-down times, it’s practically political blasphemy for a Democrat to acknowledge the failures of online learning.

Get ready for the outcry from the teachers’ unions. 

Inslee may be one of their own, but even party affiliation won’t save him when it comes to bucking union chiefs who’ve been outraged and indignant at the idea of returning teachers to schools.

“Washington state teachers’ union calls on Inslee to make classes online this fall,” The Center Square reported in July.

“Inslee’s office, teachers union dispute status of easing guidelines on in-person schooling,” the Seattle Times reported just a couple weeks ago.

Unions in the state have gone after localities that have tried to open schools for in-person learning, citing concerns over COVID-19 as their rally cry.

From the Seattle Times, this December: “Local teachers unions around the state, with support from WEA [Washington Education Association] have been filing labor complaints against some school districts trying to reopen, citing problems with PPE and inconsistent safety standards.”

And guess who’s suffered most from these union demands? That’s right — the students. The children. The very segment of population that’s least harmed by the coronavirus.

“No ‘F’ grades allowed for Washington students during COVID-19 pandemic,” one partial headline from King 5 read back in April.

There’s a policy doomed for disaster. Talk about a dumbing down of America’s emerging leaders.

Inslee is perhaps putting the stop to such stuff and nonsense.

His new guidelines to schools open doors for all students, regardless of grade and age, to return to in-person instruction so long as COVID-19 case counts are less than 50 per 100,000 residents. And if there are more than 50 cases, schools can still open doors for in-person learning — so long as the number of COVID-19 cases doesn’t surpass 350.

“It’s time to begin getting kids back into classrooms,” Inslee wrote on Twitter.

High time. Past time, actually.

And the fact that a Democratic governor is going to bat against Democratic-loving teachers’ unions only underscores how devastating the stay-at-home learning system has been. In other words: You know students are getting screwed when even a Democrat is willing to stand up to the teachers’ unions.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.

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