More School Choice Needed As Teachers Unions Force More COVID-19 School Closings

Cal Thomas, Daily Signal

Chicago Teachers Union cancelled classes for the third consecutive day, citing the dangers of the omicron-based variant and choosing to go back to virtual learning.

To many, this is seen as nothing more than a teachers’ strike and power grab executed by a union that historically supports Democrat politicians. Democrats provide federal aid for the union and then the union uses that money to vote more Democrats. Is there a problem with this system of mutual back-scratching?

In 1919, Boston police officers were on strike. The then-Massachusetts governor. Calvin Coolidge called the strikers “deserters” and “traitors,” adding, in a telegram to Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor, “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time.”

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The situation in Chicago may be different than the Boston police striking, but the unwillingness of teachers to go back to school is doing more harm than good for children and their parents. Children suffer mental and emotional trauma, as well as the challenges of learning at home and financial pressures on their parents.

For the purposes of maintaining schools open and teaching in class, $5 billion has been provided by the federal government to Illinois. The money has also been used by Illinois for different purposes, as in other states. While this is technically allowed, politicians should demand the money back if states and cities don’t use the money for the purpose for which it was intended.

Could the fact that most private and religious schools remained open during the pandemic be because they didn’t have union bosses dictating to them?

The time is now to overthrow the power and hold on to the last American monopoly: the teacher unions.

Choice is key. In every field, competition works. Education is another area where competition can work. According to the Education Commission of the States, currently there are 27 voucher programmes in 16 states, and the District of Columbia. More are needed, and now is the opportune moment for voters to pressure politicians into creating them in other states that don’t offer them.

“Illinois offers K-12 students and their parents several types of school choice, including two private programs, charter schools, magnet schools, home schooling and intra-district public school choice via an open enrollment policy,” according to Parents should look into these options and make use of them more often.

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It is crucial that our children receive the intellectual, moral, as well as patriotic education they need to maintain this country which we have loved for two centuries. China is a leader in math and science, while other nations, including China, have surpassed us. They send many of their top students here to be educated at our best universities, and many then return to China to apply what they’ve learned in ways that further the interests of their country, interests that are often counter to our own.

One of the definitions of “monopoly” is “an exclusive privilege to carry on a business, traffic, or service, granted by a government.”

The educational monopoly has outlived its usefulness and must be ended. It will let parents decide what system is best for them, rather than the government. Children are given the opportunity to choose education, not government and unions.

The Daily Signal granted permission to syndicate this article.