California’s 6 million public school students have been “distance learning” from home since California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered statewide business and school closures in March 2020 – more than 430 days ago.
A group of parents have started a petition to rid California of the California Teachers Association (CTA), the largest statewide teachers labor union. Across the state, parents and students have held protests and rallies against teachers unions and public school districts for not reopening.
A coalition of students, parents, and school leaders even filed a lawsuit last year to stop the CTA-backed effort to defund public charter school students in California – while schools were closed and children stuck at home learning on a computer during Zoom sessions.
More recently, talk of a full reopening of California’s public schools was quashed when the California Teachers Association and California Federation of Teachers quickly mobilized members and made clear that they opposed any state attempt to override local decision-making, the Globe reported recently.
Why are parents mad enough to start a movement and petition to eradicate the state of a teachers union? Read the change.org petition statement:
FIRST, let me say, this is not about teachers!! This is about the unions! Almost every teacher I know wants to be back in the classroom with the kids. They are being prevented from doing so because the union is speaking for them! I love and respect all my kids teachers!! This is not about a virus.. this is about the well being of our kids! Who are killing themselves because they have been isolated for too long! It’s time to change that.
Two weeks to flatten the curve! That’s what they told us it would take a year ago! They told us that keeping kids out of school was temporary! A YEAR AGO!! The teachers unions have been holding us all hostage, refusing to teach our children. A basic constitutional right! They said “Follow the science”, well, the science said there has been 0 documented cases of covid transmission of child to adult! The science says that having kids back in school does not spread covid!! The science says that these continued lockdowns DON’T WORK!!!! The science says that keeping kids at home is causing more harm than good.
Kids are killings themselves from depression and isolation and the teachers union is refusing to acknowledge their culpability in this! My children have never been allowed to be online for hours a day on end…. but since this lockdown began, my children are averaging 5-8 hours a day online. My son was recently the target of an online predator who was obviously grooming him. We’ve taught our children about talking to strangers on the internet and the warning signs to look for… but my son was so desperate for human contact outside of our home, that he let himself be targeted by this person. THIS MADNESS NEEDS TO STOP AND THOSE WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE NEED TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE! The teachers union has to go! We need a constitutional amendment to abolish collective bargaining in our public school systems in California! PLEASE SIGN AND SHARE!
“I’m so thankful these parents have awakened to the evils of the so-called teachers’ unions, and I hope they achieve their goal of abolishing the CTA,” said Rebecca Friedrichs, nationally known when her case fighting for the right of teachers to opt-out of union membership, Friedrichs vs. the CTA, made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. “The CTA has been using and silencing good teachers for decades while severely damaging our educational system. CTA does not speak for good teachers; instead CTA abuses us and uses America’s kids as pawns in their radical political games. Every good teacher I know wants to be in the classroom working in-person with children every day. It’s definitely time to abolish the CTA, and while we’re at it, let’s abolish the national teachers’ unions, and all of their affiliates in all 50 states.”
Following the untimely death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Friedrichs’ groundbreaking case was tabled, and Mark Janus a few years later prevailed in a similar case.
Fits and Starts and Union Meddling
After several fits and starts, in December 2020 – nine months into the lockdown – California Gov. Gavin Newsom told the state’s parents that he was aiming to have the youngest kids back in school by February, but not the state’s middle and high schoolers.
Immediately, the California Teachers Association jumped in and said campuses should not reopen until counties reach the state’s red tier of infections.
The California Federation of Teachers also added a new caveat: classroom, in-person instruction would hinge on the vaccine rollout and timeline.
What we didn’t know, was at the same time, the national teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers, had been lobbying the Centers for Disease Control on, and even suggested language for the federal agency’s school-reopening guidance released in February.
As the petition states, “Kids are killings themselves from depression and isolation.”
One parent explained in a comment, “the unions have shown they care more about money and power than they do about our children.”