Chicago Teachers Union is the third-largest school in the country. They defied city orders for children to go back to in-person learning. This earned them a new round of bipartisan scorn.
After winter break, kids were ready to return to school this week. In a Tuesday vote, 73% of Chicago Teachers Union members said that they would like to return to remote classes until Covid cases drop significantly. Although the coronavirus omicron has spread rapidly across the country, it has been found to be less severe than other variants.
Research continues to show that young people are at a lower risk of developing serious illnesses from the virus. Furthermore, research continues to show that inconsistency in education over the past two years has had adverse effects on young adults’ mental well-being.
Twitter slammed the union as “selfish”, “malevolent” or worse for its apparent disregard of science. Many others joined the call for all union members to be fired.
It turned out that the opposition to the union’s decision was bipartisan. David Axelrod, a Chicago politics veteran, and strategist for Democrats suggested that pulling children out of schools will only increase the already “devastating” impact of school closures on students.
Lori Lightfoot (D. Chicago) threatened to withhold teachers’ pay if they don’t show up for class.
Although the mayor stated that she was committed to “negotiating an equitable agreement”, she said that she is against unilateral action to close down entire districts, denying hundreds of thousands of students the safe, in-person education they need.
The union has been using #LoriLockout as a hashtag on Twitter Wednesday. It argued that everyone should be back in class, but that Lightfoot, Chicago Public Schools, “have not yet provided safety for the overwhelming majority” of schools.