Democrats Side With Teachers’ Unions Against Students

Every Senate Democrat Voted Against Sens. Blunt (R-MO) And Scott’s (R-SC) Amendment To Deny Funding To School Districts That Still Won’t Reopen Even After Teachers Have Been Vaccinated Against COVID-19


SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “We’ll be getting Senators on the record about … whether generous federal funding should pour into school districts where the unions refuse to let schools open.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 2/03/2021)

SEN. ROY BLUNT (R-MO): “The evidence is clear: school closures are hurting students… Prolonged remote learning is putting kids at higher risk of falling behind, failing classes, and suffering from mental health problems. That risk is even greater for students with disabilities and students in underserved areas. Public health professionals, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said we should follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and get kids back into classrooms. The science confirms schools can and should reopen safely. Unfortunately, despite President Biden’s pledge to reopen schools within his first 100 days, the administration is bending to the will of politically-connected teachers unions. Congress has made in-person learning a priority, providing $67.5 billion for K-12 schools to reopen safely. Doing what is right for kids should be an area where we can reach bipartisan agreement. I urge all of my colleagues to join us in supporting this amendment.” (Sen. Blunt, Press Release, 02/04/2021)

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): “Keeping our nation’s students out of the classroom for a year is permanently injuring the educational aspirations and opportunities of an entire generation… The children most negatively impacted are those who are growing up poor, just like I did.  While teacher unions and their allies continue to change the rules as we go, we must be clear: if you have been vaccinated, it’s time to get back into the classroom.” (Sen. Tim Scott, Press Release, 02/04/2021)

All 50 Senate Democrats voted against Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Tim Scott’s (R-SC) amendment to prevent new funds going to school districts that still won’t reopen even after teachers have been vaccinated, including Sens. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Michael Bennet (D-CO). (S.Amdt. 48, S Con.Res.5, Roll Call Vote #17: Amendment Rejected 50-50: D 0-48; R 50-0; I 0-2, 2/04/2021, Kelly, Warnock, Hassan, Cortez Masto, and Bennet voted Nay)


Scientific Studies, By Biden’s CDC, Show That With Care And Proper Precautions Schools Can Reopen Safely

Schools operating in person have seen scant transmission of the coronavirus, particularly when masks and distancing are employed … researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded in papers published Tuesday. The CDC team reviewed data from studies in the United States and abroad and found the experience in schools differed from nursing homes and high-density work sites where rapid spread has occurred. ‘The preponderance of available evidence from the fall school semester has been reassuring,’ wrote three CDC researchers in a viewpoint piece published online Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. ‘There has been little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission.’ (“CDC Finds Scant Spread Of Coronavirus In Schools With Precautions In Place,” The Washington Post, 1/26/2021)

  • “‘The conclusion here is with proper prevention efforts ... we can keep transmission in schools and educational settings quite low,’ said Margaret A. Honein, the lead author of the JAMA report. ‘We didn’t know that at the beginning of the year but the data has really accumulated.’ … Still, Honein said, even in places with high infection rates, there is no evidence that schools will transmit the virus at rates that are any higher than those seen in the general community. She said they can operate safely as long as precautions are employed…. ‘With good prevention, we can safely reopen and keep open more schools,’ said Honein, lead for the CDC State and Local Health Department Covid Task Force.” (“CDC Finds Scant Spread Of Coronavirus In Schools With Precautions In Place,” The Washington Post, 1/26/2021)

‘Schools Do Not Seem To Be Stoking Community Transmission Of The Coronavirus’

“Months into the school year, school reopenings across the United States remain a patchwork of plans: in-person, remote and hybrid; masked and not; socially distanced and not. But amid this jumble, one clear pattern is emerging. So far, schools do not seem to be stoking community transmission of the coronavirus, according to data emerging from random testing in the United States and Britain. Elementary schools especially seem to seed remarkably few infections.” (“Schoolchildren Seem Unlikely To Fuel Coronavirus Surges, Scientists Say,” The New York Times, 10/22/2020)

  • “Still, transmission by young children to adults seems to be negligible as long as safety measures are in place. Several studies have suggested that children under 10 are mostly unaffected by the coronavirus and spread it to others less efficiently compared with older children and adults. One study published in the journal Pediatrics surveyed more than 57,000 child care providers in the United States and found that they were no more likely to become infected with the coronavirus than other adults in the community.” (“Schoolchildren Seem Unlikely To Fuel Coronavirus Surges, Scientists Say,” The New York Times, 10/22/2020)


Medical Experts: ‘There Is Increasing Data To Suggest That Schools Can Safely Reopen,’ ‘It’s Less Likely For A Child To Get Infected In The School Setting’

MSNBC’s WILLIE GEIST: “I want to ask you about schools. There’s a growing frustration, as you know, in this country, among parents, among educators, that it’s been almost a year and some children have not been yet back to school, in that entire time. The CDC researchers put out some research this week that suggests that it is safe to have schools open, as long as we continue masking and social distancing … broadly speaking, should schools be open?”

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health: “You know, I would back the CDC recommendations, because that is really based on data. We didn’t really appreciate that early on, but the fact is that when you look at a community and look at the penetrance of the virus in the community and its spread at the community level compared to the school in that community, it’s less likely for a child to get infected in the school setting than if they were just in the community. So for that reason … we need to try and get the children back to school …” (MSNBC’s “Morning Joe, 1/28/2021)

CDC DIRECTOR DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY: “I also want to be clear that there is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely…. I would also say … that vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools.” (White House Press Briefing, 2/03/2021)

DR. DAVID RUBIN, A Pediatrician And Infectious Disease Expert At The University Of Pennsylvania: “I think there’s a pretty good base of evidence now that schools can open safely in the presence of strong safety plans, and even at higher levels of case incidence than we had suspected.” (“Schoolchildren Seem Unlikely To Fuel Coronavirus Surges, Scientists Say,” The New York Times, 10/22/2020)


Yet Across The Country, Many Teachers’ Unions Refuse To Return To School

ILLINOIS: “The Chicago Teachers Union voted to refuse in-person instruction Sunday and directed educators to work remotely starting Monday. The decision comes two weeks after the nation’s third-largest school district called teachers and staff into classrooms and started to lock them out from remote work. Chicago Public Schools chief executive Janice Jackson had said the action would constitute an illegal strike.” (“Chicago Teachers Union Votes To Refuse In-Person Classes And Continue Remote Instruction,” The Washington Post, 1/24/2021)

  • “Chicago Public Schools will halt in-person classes Wednesday as the city makes a last push to reach a deal with its teachers union to reopen schools for elementary students on Monday. Without an agreement despite months of talks and several delays, the Chicago Teachers Union said its members will still refuse to report to schools and will strike if CPS locks teachers out of remote classroom platforms. It would be their second strike in less than two years.” (“CPS Halts In-Person Learning For Students Already Back As Teachers Strike Looms,” Chicago Tribune, 1/26/2021)

WASHINGTON STATE: “The situation between the Bellevue School District and the teacher’s union escalating into a legal battle on Thursday after teachers voted to not come back to teach in person during a Tuesday meeting…. The district says the union broke an agreement to expand in-person learning starting with 2nd graders on Thursday. The district says it was a last resort after repeated requests to mediate concerns went nowhere…. The district is using substitute teachers amid a dispute with the union that now said educators in Bellevue won’t come back in person until they are vaccinated.” (“Dispute Over In-Person Learning Escalates Into Legal Action For Bellevue School District,” Q13 Fox Seattle, 1/22/2021)

MARYLAND: “Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said last week that he wants students back in the classroom by March 1. Now, Maryland’s teachers’ union is pushing back on that start date, calling it arbitrary. In a letter sent to Hogan and state Superintendent Karen Salmon, Maryland State Education Association President Cheryl Bost expressed frustration with the March deadline.” (“Md. Teachers’ Union Pushes Back On Hogan’s Call To Return To In-Person Classes,” WTOP, 1/26/2021)

While Many Teachers Receive Vaccine Prioritization, Some Teachers’ Unions Refuse To Tie Vaccinations To In-Person Reopening

“Vaccinating teachers has been widely hailed as a vital step toward reopening the nation’s still-closed schools and, in many places, educators have been moved toward the front of the line for shots. But it has not gone hand-in-hand with efforts to return students to classrooms. And adding to the confusion, some officials are explicitly refusing to link vaccination and reopening.” (“Teachers Are Moving To The Front Of The Vaccine Line — But That Doesn’t Mean All Schools Will Reopen Right Away,” The Washington Post, 01/26/2021)

VIRGINIA: FAIRFAX EDUCATION ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT KIMBERLY ADAMS: “We think all students need to be vaccinated before in-person instruction resumes full time. For now, a hybrid learning option must continue to be available to all students and staff.” (“‘It Feels Like The Goalpost Keeps Moving’: Vaccine Battle Brewing In Fairfax County Public Schools,” Fox5DC, 01/26/2021)

CALIFORNIA: “Many California parents and public officials supported pushing the state’s 1.4 million teachers and other education workers toward the front of the vaccine line, believing that would allow schools to finally reopen. But the state teachers unions — as well as San Francisco’s — have said vaccinations won’t be enough and are calling for additional measures not endorsed by public health experts as necessary for students and staff to safely return to the classroom.” (“Moving California Teachers To The Front Of The Vaccine Line Might Not Be Enough To Reopen Schools,” San Francisco Chronicle, 1/09/2021)



Related Issues: Education, Senate Democrats, COVID-19