If Schools Aren’t Essential, Then School Choice Is

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 28: Parents, schoolchildren and education activists rally during an event supporting public charter schools and protesting New York's racial achievement gap in education, in Prospect Park, September 28, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The #PathToPossible rally and march, organized by the Families for Excellent Schools, is calling for New York City to double its public charter school sector to 200,000 students by 2020. An estimated 25,000 people attended the rally. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Teachers unions have spent decades telling us that it is essential to get children into big, expensive schools at the earliest age possible. No longer content with children learning from home until Kindergarten, unions attacked homeschooling and have insisted on enrolling children into publicly-funded schools two years before kindergarten. But that was before COVID-19.

Now, these same unions are fine with simply throwing these kids an iPad. So, which is it?  The answer is neither. Teachers unions’ attempt to “never let a crisis go to waste” is back-firing into making the case for expanding school choice in the United States.

Rather than working on ways to get back into the classrooms, teachers unions from coast-to-coast have busied themselves with progressive policy demands like Medicare for All and various arguments to avoid going back to work, while accepting a paycheck.

United Teachers Los Angeles demanded radical leftist economic policies and social justice initiatives as a bribe in return for “educating” children. Meanwhile, the Chicago Teachers Union has continued to prove that educating children is simply something they’re not interested in. First they filed another legal challenge to block the reopening of schools, then they tweeted that the push to reopen schools and educate children is rooted in racism and sexism.

Never before has a group so openly espoused a viewpoint so directly in conflict with their actions. Test scores have indeed been dropping dramatically throughout the pandemic and the fall among minority children is particularly sharp. Nationwide, it has been projected that the number of failing students has doubled or possibly tripled.

They claim to be concerned about racism, but certainly not enough to actually help minority children get a better education—it’s minority children who are less likely to be able to afford private schooling and minority children who we see crying after they lose charter school lotteries.

“Never let a crisis go to waste” should also be the rallying cry of those who seek to escape these bullies. Republicans still have a majority of state legislatures and governors’ mansions. In addition, we are currently experiencing perhaps the greatest interest in school choice that our nation has ever seen. If elected officials choose to expand access to vouchers, charter schools, or educational savings accounts, they can make school choice a reality for many, many children.

Media can play its part by stepping up and “speaking truth to power.” The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers make larger campaign contributions than George Soros. Investigative journalism should expose these powerful political players—at least for the sake of our children who are falling further and further behind as the pandemic-driven school closures continue.

For far too long, mainstream media have advanced the narrative that these unions are fighting for our children. We’ve seen courageous business owners bend over backwards—spending tens of thousands of dollars adapting to COVID safety guidelines—to keep businesses open and staff employed. And, we’ve even seen Christian schools bring their students back, much to the chagrin of public school leaders.

Meanwhile, teachers unions have been pushing to advance progressive policies and using social justice mantras to make the case for staying home.

Never in our lifetimes will we have a better opportunity to advance education reform. Whether it is from introducing vouchers, offering educational savings accounts, or allowing additional charter schools, the states need to take advantage of this crisis.

Adam Guillette is the President of Accuracy in Media, www.aim.org.

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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