Yet again, the National Education Association — the nation’s largest teachers union — has shown its utter disregard for the kids its members are supposed to be teaching.
An action item for its representative assembly calls for working with its state affiliates to support a national policy of mandatory masking in schools and “virtual education” for “all families who want it” in the next academic year.
That COVID alarmists demand such measures is bad enough. That the nation’s largest labor union has taken them up for serious debate is borderline criminal. Years of data show that all those demands are not only nonsensical, they’re dangerous and permanently damaging to kids.
To see just how dangerous, look no further than at the grim education metrics from the pandemic years. Students who were mostly remote lost roughly 50% of a typical school year’s math learning, a Harvard study found. Other data show 49% of students across America failed to hit reading benchmarks in the winter of the 2021-22 school year.
The damage was concentrated among the most vulnerable students, with the pandemic years erasing much of the very real progress among black and Hispanic students in K-12 schools through the 1990s and 2000s.
So much for “virtual education,” which amounts (especially for younger students) to eight hours a day in front of a screen — if you’ve got one. So much for equity, too.
Then there’s the science around masking kids in school and pediatric COVID risk. Of the nation’s more than 1 million COVID deaths, just 1,088 were among under-18s. That risk shrinks the younger kids get, with just 352 deaths among 5- to 14-year-olds and 149 among 1- to 4-year-olds. Schools have never played a major role as COVID spreaders, numbers show. There’s also zero data to suggest that mandates, at any level, have any significant effect on COVID outcomes.
So the NEA aims to wreck US schools, yet again, to mitigate a near-nonexistent risk using methods that don’t work. Sounds about right for an organization that’s also entertaining suggestions to phase out words like “mother” and “father” and replace them with more faddish lingo like “birthing” and “non-birthing parent.”
It’s beyond irresponsible that a group with wide-ranging social power and serious political clout is using them to further goals that harm the kids its members have been given the care of. It’s all the worse because these same kids are already facing years of learning loss, as a direct result of bad COVID policies teachers groups pushed hard for during the pandemic.
The NEA ought to be on its knees apologizing for the damage it did. Instead, it’s looking to do more.