Democrats Play Politics With Schools, But It’s Not the First Time

Liz Harrington, Twenty-two European countries reopened their schools back in May, and it did not cause “any significant increase in coronavirus infections among children, parents, or staff.” In the months that have followed, more evidence has emerged that children are not only far less susceptible to getting sick from COVID-19, they are not transmitting it. Extended school shutdowns, however, have taken a much greater toll on kids’ mental, emotional, and physical health.

Yet Democrats are making it controversial to return to school. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ignores the science, saying, “going back to school presents the biggest risk.” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio limits school to only one to three days a week and California Governor Gavin Newsom cancels in-person school for the entire academic year. Why? For the same reason Democrats block low-income kids from leaving failing schools to get a better education: the teachers unions tell them to.

A French study of over 1,300 people in one coronavirus outbreak found just three probable cases among kids, and they didn’t lead to more infections among adults. Rather than the rumored fearmongering of kids as “super-spreaders,” it was parents who infected their children — not the other way around.

Another study in Ireland examined 1,000 contacts between three kids aged 10 to 15 who had the virus and did not find a single transmission in the school setting, not even at choir practice. The results “echo the experience of other countries, where children are not emerging as considerable drivers of transmission of COVID-19.”

Yet another study in Germany found reopened schools did not drive transmission, and children actually act as a “brake on infection.” The mask requirement for schools will be dropped in the fall.

The media ignores these facts, instead opting for politically driven science-free hysteria. CNN declares that President Trump “takes new risks with schools.” In reality, kids are at much greater risk during a normal flu season. The risk to kids under 15 of dying from the flu or pneumonia is up to 20 times higher than the coronavirus. Kids are 128 times more likely to die of an accident. Should we cancel school and recess forever?

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Democrat-imposed school shutdowns are the new risk. The American Academy of Pediatrics says isolation due to school closures leads physical and sexual abuse to go unreported and increases risk of substance use, depression, and suicide.

Dr. Sean O’Leary, a pediatrics infectious disease specialist at the University of Colorado, says reopening is “so important for the kids, but really for the entire community.” Dr Gavin Morgan, an educational psychologist in the UK, says continuing to deprive kids of playing with their friends will cause their mental health to suffer “irreparably.”

Joe Biden said, “listen to the experts.” What changed? Democrats never really cared about the science. If they demonized a safe 60-year-old FDA-approved drug proven to be effective at treating the virus, they will politicize school. When the teachers unions say close, Democrats ask, how long? If you have to guess, it will be until about Nov. 3.

Democrats didn’t just begin politicizing education. Just like the science says it’s safe to reopen, the data shows students achieve more when they have school choice.

In New York City, two kids can go to school in the same building but achieve markedly improved results with choice. Thomas Sowell reports fewer than 10 percent of students in public school reached the “proficient” level, while the majority of those in school choice lottery classrooms reached proficiency, with many grade levels at over 80 percent proficient.

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In Wisconsin, charter and private choice schools cost just two-thirds of public schools but consistently outperform them. In Florida, students enrolled in the recently expanded private school-choice program are up to 99 percent more likely to enroll in college. Democrats continue to block this opportunity, like Gov. Tom Wolf who is blocking 50,000 kids from receiving scholarships in Pennsylvania.

Expect worse from Joe Biden. He vows to govern like a National Education Association member and have a “teacher-oriented Department of Education.” And you thought kids were supposed to come first.

The first thing Biden would do in office, just like his predecessor, is take away minority kids’ education opportunities. The Biden-Sanders unity task force opposes all school choice vouchers and would kill the program in Washington, D.C. and the dreams of 1,700 kids – 83 percent who are Black with an average family income of $26,000 – along with it.

Teachers’ unions first. Kids last. The National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and others, give a lot to Democrats — $33.2 million in 2016 and $15 million so far this cycle — and they expect to be rewarded.

The Trump administration puts kids first. In April, the Department of Education announced $65 million in new grants for public charter schools, and 95 percent will go to Opportunity Zones, helping kids in the most need. Education Freedom Scholarships are providing $5 billion in tax credits to finance choice scholarships annually.

President Trump will always ensure Americans, of all backgrounds, of all ages, regardless of zip code, have an equal shot at the American Dream. Open the schools. And never let Democrats block kids from going to a better once again.