If you have school-aged children, you might be asking yourself what the plan is for getting them back into the classroom. Naturally, you want it to be safe, both in terms for your family and the teaching and support staff who provide your children an education. But there must be a plan.
If you’ve been following California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s press conferences, you might not have a firm understanding of the plan. There’s a reason for that – there isn’t one.
After more than 10 months in statewide lockdown, there still isn’t a real plan to re-introduce California’s youth into in-person schooling. Some school districts have returned with hybrid education models, making use on in-person classes and distance learning, but most school districts are still performing online-only education.
The unfortunate reality is that the governor’s largest special interest donors haven’t given him the green light. Unions like the California Teachers Association, which represent more than 300,000 teachers in California, collect more than $400 million each year in union dues and donated more than $1.3 million to Newsom’s re-election campaign, aren’t OK with returning to the classroom yet.
During a recent press conference, Newsom was asked about re-opening schools and allowing children to return to the classroom. His response:
“There’s an old African proverb that says, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together. And I do believe fundamentally that if we’re going to successfully educate our most vulnerable kids, if we’re going to be successful in addressing learning loss, if we are going to be successful as a state, we have to do it as partnership. So this notion of imposition, closed fist versus an open hand, is a distinction for me that’s important, and that distinction is reflected in providing incentives for the kind of behavior we want to see.”
In other words – absolutely not.
Newsom then laid out his “plan” to re-open schools — bribery.
If a school district promises to re-open schools by mid-February, it will get an additional $450 to $750 per student in funding. What exactly is the message here?
A school should open if it needs the extra funding? Isn’t waving money in the faces of an already-underfunded school in an area with poor property tax revenue asking the school district to weigh the benefit of a few extra bucks with the health and safety of students?
Make no mistake, schools need to open at some point. This just isn’t the way to do it.
Let’s think about it this way. Remember back when Newsom released his guidelines for COVID-19 safety which included closing tens of thousands of businesses? Where was the financial incentive then?
Why not financially incentivize businesses who can’t adhere to safety guidelines to shut down instead?
This sounds backwards, but it’s that way on purpose. Newsom isn’t interested in protecting small business owners in California. That much is already clear. Let’s consider why Newsom may be offering a financial incentive for school districts to re-open.
Let’s say you’re a crafty union representative and you have the ear of the governor. You tell him that if the state is willing to put some extra money down “for the children,” you could see your way clear to safely re-open schools.
You then take that money, convince the school district to use it to hire additional teachers or pay out “hero bonuses” to teachers throughout the district, and then re-open the schools with a few modifications. You already know schools are not super-spreader sites, but you’re holding out for some extra cash.
And just like that, children are back in classrooms safely. You get to tell your members you protected them during COVID-19, you got them some extra cash and you even picked up a few extra members along the way.
As disappointing as this all is, it should be clear at this point what Newsom’s priorities are getting re-elected, not protecting California’s children or getting them back in the classroom. The parents of underprivileged kids won’t pay for his re-election, and he needs to keep the money flowing.
- Gov. Newsom Willing to Re-Open Schools – Just as Soon as the Labor Unions Tell Him To - January 29, 2021
- Concerned Citizens Shout Down COVID Penalties at Sacramento County Supervisors Meeting - December 16, 2020
- Government Unions Had a Surprisingly Bad Election Night in California - November 12, 2020