Yes, the hypocrisy continues! Chicago area union vice president, Sarah Chambers, joins our new Wall of Shame. Ms. Chambers vocally opposes the re-opening of Chicago’s Public Schools on Monday, January 11th. She continues to insist that the doors remain closed lest there be any risk whatsoever for students, teachers, and staff to return to the classroom for the first time since March, 2020. Somehow, visiting a tropical paradise that the CDC has warned all travelers to avoid because it is a COVID-19 hotspot with the highest level 4 risk was “safe.”
Ms. Chambers’ actions are a prime illustration of the politics behind these devastating lockdowns. If we have learned anything about education during this pandemic, it’s that parents need options and that these lockdowns are bad for the overall well-being of kids. No matter which side of the aisle you fall on, the data is clear that one of the safest places for many kids is in the classroom.
According to the Chicago Public School District website, 76.4% of the 355,156 students in the district are economically disadvantaged with 22% of these students in 2020 categorized as having high levels of absenteeism or truancy from online learning. The ripple effects of the school closures across the country will be felt by this generation of K-12th graders for years to come. These lockdowns have harmed students and stripped them of the opportunity to earn a meaningful education. The 22% represents 77,000 students in the Chicago area that have more than likely “dropped off the grid” so to speak due to a lack of access to the internet, a home computer, or an environment that nurtures the importance of attending online instruction. But yet, individuals such as Ms. Chambers, as well as educators all over this country, continue to threaten boycotts and no-shows. Their actions stand in stark contrast to the genuine leaders that understand what is at stake if students are not allowed back into the classroom.
The good news is that despite the insincere rhetoric and propaganda from Ms. Chambers and her like-minded union leaders, Chicago’s public school district remains steadfast with their phase back plans for K-8th grade students starting on Monday, January 11th, 2021. The bad news is that the plan falls short of returning high school students with the possibility that they might not return at all this 2020- 2021 school year. We shall wait and see what the future brings.