Freedom Foundation

Teachers’ Unions See Pandemic Bargaining Leverage

We hear it over and over again: Science and data, not politics, must guide our strategy to re-open the U.S economy and get families back to work.

And on its face, this sounds great. After all, who doesn’t like science and data?

At the Freedom Foundation, in fact, we love science and data so much we’ve fact-checked Washington’s official Department of Health COVID-19 death count and found the state was inflating its statistics by up to 13 percent.

In return for our diligence, Gov. Inslee branded the us ‘conspiracy theorists from the planet Pluto’.

Barely a month later, the DOH quietly adjusted its numbers and changed its COVID-19 death reporting methodology.

More recently, the state’s union house organ, “The Stand,” ran an article echoing what we’ve heard a thousand times: Safety, not politics, must guide reopening of schools.

In the final paragraph, the story states:

“As parents, educators and administrators, we want to do what is best for students, and we are fighting for what we need to reopen schools safely. This administration and Congress must do better to partner with us and lead.”

The question remains — what exactly do we need to do to safely re-open schools? In Sacramento County, Calif., the school district recently announced there would be no in-person classes in the fall. By the end of the quarter, that would mean students have been absent from the classroom for nearly six months (not counting summer vacation).

If you were to ask yourself what a union, dominated by far-left politics, thinks we need to accomplish to safely re-open schools, what would that checklist would look like?

Wonder no longer, as the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) — the largest local affiliate of the California Teachers Association (CTA) — recently published a study detailing all the necessary steps its school district must take in order to safely re-open schools.

In this study, you see what you might imagine are general safety guidelines such as regular testing, cleaning, personal protective equipment (PPE) for teachers and students, increased air circulation in buildings and outdoor teaching where possible.

You can read the full list in their study here, but we won’t subject you to the nearly three pages of health requirements they demand.

Further down the list, we get into the meat of what UTLA actually wants to gain from this pandemic — it’s what they’ve been spending millions of dollars on every year to accomplish anyways.

This includes:

  • repealing Proposition 13, the much-beloved property tax cut, during a time when businesses are already struggling to make ends meet;
  • two new taxes;
  • $500 billion in new federal money — although it’s unclear how or where this money would be spent;
  • Medicare for all;
  • defunding the police — for some reason;
  • extending housing security measures, also known as eviction moratoriums;
  • a moratorium on charter schools in Los Angeles County; and,
  • financial support for undocumented students and families.

While reasonable people may debate the components listed above on their merits, there’s no disputing they have nothing whatsoever to so with when and how schools should be reopened. After all, as The Stand told us just two days before this study was published, facts and science need to guide the reopening of schools.

For once, it would be nice to see unions practice what they preach. Instead of trying to turn the COVID-19 health pandemic into a political victory, our time would be much better spent trying to figure out how to teach our nation’s children again.

How defunding the police helps that process along may make perfect sense in the alternate universe inhabited by unions, but here on the Mother Ship we’re looking for serious answers.