California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) has ordered all schools—private and public—not to open until his Omnipotent State declares it safe to do so. This seems at the behest of California’s teachers unions, which fear competition from private schools—and which are losing that competition, as they’ve been doing for some years.
Catholic school tuition, for instance, costs $1,000-$4,000 per student less than the union public schools, and they provide better education—academic, discipline, moral values. And they’re ready, willing, and anxious to open on schedule.
In contrast, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (D) has sprung some of his discretionary education funds to cover school costs for families whose kids went to private schools last year, but for whom the Wuhan Virus situation has hammered their finances this year.
What’s really at stake? The virus risk to the kids in K-12 is vanishingly small: they’re simply unlikely to get infected, and among those who do, the severity of their infection very usually is slight.
The science is uncertain on how infectious the kids are when they are infected but asymptomatic. They appear not to be mutually infectious; the uncertainty is how infectious they are to the adults around them, the teachers, teacher aides (a relatively recent, and seeming featherbedding, addition to staff), administrators and staff, janitors. The data, though, are leaning increasingly in the direction of not very infectious.
There are occasional moves to stagger in-person schooling with half the students present some days, the other half the other days, at socially distanced desks, and with virtual schooling (a disastrous failure last spring, but maybe practice teaches) for the kids at home on those alternate days.
This is unnecessary. The kids are as safe from each other with the Wuhan Virus as they are with colds and flu. Bring them back. All of them.
While the risks remain uncertain, it would be cumbersome but easily and straightforwardly doable to socially distance the teachers from the students in their classrooms. They spend a fair amount of their class time on the chalkboards at the front of the rooms, anyway. Or could easily go back to that.
Teachers unions holding out for deus ex cashina (I wish I’d thought of the term, but it’s the WSJ editors’) State and Federal interventions are acting in their petty interests rather than the interests of our children. Easier said than done, but these unions need to be decertified. Their selfish greed borders on child abuse.