Though regular readers of my work know of my absolute opposition to the school lockdowns we’ve suffered through for the better part of the last two years, I must acknowledge that there has been at least one benefit from those lockdowns — to wit, the education given to the public regarding the true nature of the teachers unions, which have revealed themselves to be interested in and driven by the power and influence of teachers unions’ leaders, and nothing else, with no concern for the teachers they claim to represent, let alone the students in their charge.
And due to that revelation, as smart Democrats survey the results of the 2021 elections and make plans for the 2022 midterm elections, they are fearful.
Start with the science: The science shows virtually no benefit to — and, in fact, a great deal of harm done by — ongoing school lockdowns. In a recent piece for the Brownstone Institute titled “More Than 400 Studies on the Failure of Compulsory Covid Interventions,” Dr. Paul Alexander writes of the many harms done to our society and our children: undiagnosed illness, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, drug overdose and suicides, crushing isolation, domestic abuse, child abuse, child sexual abuse, loss of jobs and businesses, and others.
Yet, despite the clear findings of the science, the teachers unions continue to push for more school closings — except this time, it’s not out of a “concern” over the coronavirus, but out of concern for — wait for it — the mental health stresses caused by the coronavirus school closings! To their addled way of thinking, the solution to the problems caused by school lockdowns is … more school lockdowns.
I’m not making that up. As The Wall Street Journal reported last month, “school closures aren’t just for COVID anymore.”
In Detroit, reports the Journal, the public schools announced the district would go online every Friday in December because of “the need for mental health relief, rising COVID cases, and time to more thoroughly clean schools.” In Southfield, Michigan, schools will also revert to remote learning one day a week because of what they call “staffing shortages.”
In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the school district directed schools to close on Friday, Nov. 12 (conveniently, the day following the Nov. 11 federal Veterans Day holiday), thereby creating a four-day weekend. On the other side of the country, at least a dozen school districts in Oregon also took off that same Friday, Nov. 12.
According to the Burbio School Tracker, 3,145 of the 8,692 school closings it tracked so far this year were caused by concerns over “mental health.”
The teachers unions have overplayed their hand.
More than a year ago, Reason Foundation scholar Corey DeAngelis explained: “New data,” he wrote, “suggest that school districts in states with stronger teachers unions are significantly less likely to open in person. … Right now, school districts in states that require union membership are 25 percentage points less likely to plan to reopen with full-time in-person instruction available than school districts in right-to-work states.”
That has become a cause for concern among smart Democrats because voters are on to them, and they have figured out which political party is behind the school closures — and, as last month’s elections demonstrate, voters are punishing Democrats for those school closures.
That’s the clear message from the research done after the Virginia gubernatorial election (where Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe) by the Democrat firm ALG Research.
A Nov. 15 memo reporting the findings from multiple focus groups composed of Biden/Youngkin voters explains: “School closures + COVID policy were a bigger factor than CRT. These voters were more animated talking about their dissatisfaction with their local school districts’ handling of COVID. They felt buffeted by changing and inconsistent policies and concerned about the impact on student learning loss, and there was a sense among some that Virginia was not following the science by keeping schools closed later than other states. One participant, a Biden voter, stated flat out that her vote for Youngkin ‘was against the party that closed the schools for so long last year.’”
Sometimes, it’s not rocket science.
• Jenny Beth Martin is honorary chairman of Tea Party Patriots Action.