Red sign warning of coronavirus on a background of yellow school bus parking lot

School choice helps counter teachers unions’ pernicious impact

Jude Schwalbach and Hance Winingham write for the Daily Signal about the role of school choice in combating teachers unions’ harmful stance on reopening schools.

Inexplicably, teachers unions have also rejected measures that would require teachers to be more available to students throughout the day via live video.

The Center on Reinventing Public Education’s director, Robin Lake, told The New York Times that the teachers unions’ vacillating responses feel “like we are treating kids as pawns in this game.”

Adding to parents’ frustrations, teachers unions have also taken the opportunity to push for a whole host of concessions that have nothing to do with health and safety.

For instance, the American Federation of Teachers has a long list of demands, including: additional food programs, guidance counselors, smaller classes, tutors to assist teachers, and “culturally responsive practices.” …

… Many parents are tired of being strong-armed by teachers unions and have pursued alternative education options for their children.

For instance, the learning pod phenomenon, wherein parents work together to pool resources and hire their own tutors and materials is popular. This allows students to return to in-person lessons, even if school districts refuse to reopen. …

… Families have embraced private school options, too. A survey last November of 160 schools in 15 states and Washington, D.C., showed that half of the surveyed private schools experienced higher enrollment this academic year than they had the previous year pre-pandemic.

Moreover, more than 75% of surveyed private schools were open for in-person instruction. The remaining schools offered hybrid education, which is a combination of in-person and virtual learning.

Children could have greater access to private education if more states made education dollars student-centered. For instance, parent-controlled education savings accounts allow parents to spend their funds on approved education costs, like private tutoring, books, or tuition. These accounts already exist in five states.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...