Biden chief of staff sides with teachers' unions: Nope, can't reopen schools just yet

I wouldn’t call this a “hostile” interview from CNN, but the fact that even Erin Burnett is openly skeptical of Klain’s “moar safety!” shilling for the union position is a bad early sign for Team Joe.

Let me gently inform them here: They are risking an educational *and* political catastrophe if schools aren’t fully open by this fall. Republicans are already running on this issue, a good 21 months before the midterms. If the Biden administration appears to voters to be siding with Democratic special interests over kids whose intellectual and emotional development has already been stunted by the pandemic, God only knows how bad it could get for them in 2022. Especially among those new suburban voters whom liberals are so happy to have on the team now.

Watch Ron Klain for a few minutes, then read on.

“Safety first” is a reasonable demand — in a vacuum. The problem for Klain is that certain unions and even some local governments aren’t behaving reasonably in their priorities. The San Francisco School Board spent last night farting around with a debate over whether to remove the names of “problematic” historical figures like George Washington from schools, a dereliction of duty so insane in light of the educational crisis facing their city that even former Obama campaign officials are calling them out on it today.

Some teachers’ unions have refused to support letting teachers go back to work as far off as this coming fall even after being vaccinated. Another union in Washington state decided to hit back at the local school district for deciding to reopen schools by voting to halt remote learning too this Thursday and Friday. Next stop, presumably, is visiting kids’ homes and literally yanking schoolbooks out of their hands.

Matt Bai asks a simple question. If, as the unions so often insist, teachers are essential to the functioning of civilization the way cops and firefighters are, why aren’t they willing to take the same personal risks to keep civilization functioning? Cops don’t get to stay home because they might encounter the virus on the job. Why do teachers?

Our teachers are needed, too. We can’t keep telling ourselves that online learning is almost as good, that there’s no incalculable cost to keeping a generation out of the classroom for a year or even two, that our schools are ingeniously fulfilling their missions under the most trying circumstances.

They’re not. They’re leaving parents — in many cases poor, stressed and ill-equipped — to fill in the educational gaps while also trying to stave off the loneliness and anxiety that stalks their children. The teachers in these schools have been forced to abandon their posts, and the unions are telling them to stay where they are and wait for the all-clear.

And so this is the message that I hope Biden will have the fortitude to deliver to one of his party’s most steadfast constituencies. Simply put: We believe that public school teachers are devoted public servants whose expertise and sacrifice are indispensable to the nation.

The time has come to show us that they believe it, too.

“You are vital, irreplaceable public servants. And it’s time you started acting like it,” Bai writes. Instead the unions are busy with stuff like this:

What’s especially slippery about Klain in the clip is how he emphasizes that the new CDC study about school safety looked at rural schools where classrooms have few kids. Right, but *another* piece authored by CDC researchers this week concluded that schools across the U.S. and abroad as a rule have proved much safer than scientists first feared. It’s not just the ones out in the sticks in Wisconsin. Teachers everywhere simply aren’t at special risk from doing their jobs, according to the data.

And so, given how important their jobs are, why aren’t they doing them? And why isn’t Ron Klain more insistent about it?

Gonna leave you with this guy, who I’m guessing will be voting in the next election. Someone forward the clip to Biden and his political team.