Many teachers in America are more interested in their union contracts than they are in education. That’s why comfy Covid closures are a hit with them. Same money, half the effort. Stephen Moore and Phil Kerpen lay it out.

Moore and Kerpen: President Joe Biden got it right when he said on Tuesday, “We can keep our K-through-12 schools open, and that’s exactly what we should be doing.”

But that didn’t prevent the Chicago Teachers Union from illegally going on strike.  Pay no attention to the $1.8 billion of federal tax dollars Chicago got in last year’s shakedown. Prince George’s County, Md., public schools are closed for two weeks of January. In Washington, D.C., public schools are now on day three of their “only two days” closure – and the mayor signaled much longer closures coming, crafting the new euphemism “situational virtual learning” for prolonged closures.

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Worst of all is New Jersey, where over 33 percent of all students in the state are locked out of school this week.  They are disproportionately in economically disadvantaged districts.  And New York’s UFT union is also threatening – ironically, a sick out.

Are our educators ineducable? They appear to have learned nothing from the catastrophic school lockdowns in 2020. The effect was a full year of lost schooling for millions of school-age children, and the most damage was done to the lowest income and minority students, for whom online schooling was ineffective and alternative education opportunities were scarce.

The effect on COVID spread?  Worse than nothing – closing schools has been shown in study after study to actually increase spread, because students and teachers not in school are in the community, where infections spread more easily. McKinsey found that students ended the last school year, on average, five months behind in math and four months behind in reading.

Another study from Ohio State found that “districts with fully remote instruction experienced test scores declines up to three times greater than districts that had in-person instruction for the majority of the school year.” According to the CDC, emergency department visits for suicide attempts were up 31 percent last year among teenagers.   In Maryland, where closures were a state with the most widespread and prolonged, 1 in 5 teens seriously considered suicide in the past year, 27 percent used more tobacco, 37 percent used more illegal drugs, and 29 percent drank more alcohol.

Educational harms themselves also have long-term health consequences.  A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the loss of educational attainment in just the first two months of school closures would reduce life expectancy by a staggering 13.8 million years of life. The loss of future income is staggering.  The original round of global school closures is estimated by the World Bank to result in $17 trillion in lost lifetime earnings for students, a 14 percent hit to GDP…

It should be absolutely clear by now that school closures harm children – educationally, physically, mentally, emotionally, and developmentally – with little or no offsetting benefits.  If school districts shut down anyway, they have proven themselves incapable and state or federal authorities should step in with emergency education vouchers so parents can send their kids to public or private schools that are open.

This piece was written by David Kamioner on January 6, 2022. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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