New York, San Fran teachers' unions want to get in on the remote learning action

New York, San Fran teachers' unions want to get in on the remote learning action
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Yesterday we learned of how the teachers’ union in Chicago announced in the middle of the night that their teachers would be returning to remote learning the following morning. They made this announcement despite not having issued any devices for students to use and failing to establish a curriculum for the day, effectively shutting down the entire school system overnight. It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to learn that the teachers’ unions in New York City immediately slapped themselves on the forehead and said, how did we not think of this? They quickly moved to correct their course and began demanding their own path to sending all of the children back home. (NY Post)

Angered teachers union factions are ramping up pressure on city officials to adopt remote learning amid an ongoing “nightmare” of COVID-19 infections in city schools.

Progressive and left-leaning elements within the United Federation of Teachers have amplified their calls to temporarily shutter schools after the DOE recorded more than 12,000 new teacher and student cases Monday.

With Mayor Eric Adams staunchly opposing any school closures and UFT boss Michael Mulgrew avoiding a war of words with City Hall, some union groups are intensifying their tactics.

Dozens of teachers showed up at Barclays Center yesterday to protest, carrying signs and chanting about how the municipal government is “failing to keep us safe.” A far-left subset of the United Federation of Teachers (the Movement for Rank and File Educators) took to social media in droves, attacking both their boss, Michael Mulgrew, and the Mayor for not immediately closing the schools.

Of course, there may not need to be an official closure ordered by City Hall to achieve their goals. (Eric Adams remains adamantly opposed to school closures and remote learning, at least for now.) The school district reported that 25% of teachers failed to report to work this week, most calling out “sick.” There seems to be a barely adequate supply of substitutes available to keep things going for now, but that may not last for long.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, the teachers in San Francisco weren’t about to be outdone by Chicago and New York. They want to shutter their schools as well and they’re not even waiting for the unions to take action. They organized a “sick out.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

The anticipated move — which is not organized by the teachers’ union — could add to an already overwhelming absentee rate among district educators in the first days back from winter break this week. The district struggled with just a fraction of the substitutes needed to fill the more than 400 classrooms missing an qualified adult. Central office administrators, including the superintendent, stepped in to help.

“By withholding our labor, by reclaiming our time and our health, we send the message that if SFUSD, the City, State, and Federal Government do not invest in seriously addressing this pandemic (and the ongoing issues which make dealing with the pandemic so challenging for public schools), we can shut the whole system down,” according to organizers of the petition. “And we will!”

They’re going to “shut the whole system down.” That’s just lovely, isn’t it? The organizers of the sick out left more than 400 classrooms without an instructor this week and it was done with no official notice to the parents or the school district. This is what some legal analysts would call an illegal work stoppage. They’re accusing everyone in any position of authority of failing to “address the pandemic.” Are you serious? Nearly the entire staff is vaccinated and new air filtration systems have been installed thanks to overly generous relief money from the federal government. (In other words, from the taxpayers.)

Is it really any wonder that people seem to be turning on the public school system and the teachers’ unions? The people caught in the middle are the leaders of the Democratic Party. They take a lot of money from the teachers’ unions every year and frequently bend a knee to them when making policy. But creating a nation of angry parents will very likely turn a red wave this November into a red tsunami. At some point, they’re going to have to contemplate biting the hand that literally feeds them cash and salvage some goodwill from the public. This is one element of the “civil war” that I didn’t see coming, but there needs to be a reckoning for the teachers’ unions at a national level. They are simply out of control and doing far more harm to children than good.

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