The California Teachers Union: Getting richer by refusing to work while everyone else clamors to return to their jobs.
How concerned is California Governor Gavin Newsom about the possibility of being recalled?
The evidence suggests he is petrified. He is offering schools $2 billion in “incentives” to reopen by April 1, which will be well ahead of any recall vote.
The plan, detailed in Assembly Bill 86, provides financial incentives to school districts that offer in-person instruction at the beginning of next month in counties with fewer than 25 new daily confirmed coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents, a threshold almost all California counties currently meet as the winter’s rapid spread of the virus slowed.
School districts in counties in the state’s red tier, with seven or fewer cases per 100,000 residents, would be required to extend classroom learning to all elementary school students and at least one grade of middle or high school in order to access all available funds.
But the proposal, expected to receive passage in the Legislature on Thursday, stops short of mandating that schools across the state must reopen. Instead, it leaves the final decision up to local education officials and, in some areas, subject to agreements between districts and the unions representing school employees.
Given the news with the Berkeley Federation of Teacher president, it’s no wonder Newsom has to shower the teachers’ unions with money in hopes of inspiring the reopening. However, over $4 billion has been set aside for other perks.
In addition to the $2 billion, the legislation would give all school districts access to $4.6 billion to help students who have struggled with learning from home. Districts could use this money to add another month to the school year or they could spend it on counseling and tutoring for students who need the most help.
To get their slice of the $2 billion, districts in counties under the state’s most restrictive set of coronavirus rules — known as the purple tier — must offer in-person learning for transitional kindergarten through second grade, plus certain vulnerable students in all grades. This includes students who are disabled, homeless, in foster care, learning English, don’t have access to technology or are at risk of abuse and neglect.
Indeed, it appears local education officials will find it difficult to wrangle teachers back into school.
LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner has set a target date of April 9 for reopening elementary schools, but the powerful teachers’ union — United Teachers Los Angeles — has not agreed to that date, which it said is subject to labor talks.
The union is demanding that all teachers and school staff be vaccinated before they return to in-person instruction. It also does not want campuses to reopen until Los Angeles County moves out of the “purple” tier.
All of this intransigence on the part of teachers’ unions in California is certainly not based on any science: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported scant evidence linking schools to transmission.
Schools operating in person have seen scant transmission of the coronavirus, particularly when masks and distancing are employed, but some indoor athletics have led to infections and should be curtailed if schools want to operate safely, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded in papers published Tuesday.
The CDC team reviewed data from studies in the United States and abroad and found the experience in schools differed from nursing homes and high-density work sites where rapid spread has occurred.
“The preponderance of available evidence from the fall school semester has been reassuring,” wrote three CDC researchers in a viewpoint piece published online Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “There has been little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission.”
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