On the night before the Virginia gubernatorial election, Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin drew massive crowds in Loudoun County, the Joe Biden-voting locale-turned-hotbed of parent dissatisfaction, while Democrat candidate Terry McAuliffe was with Randi Weingarten, the childless head of the American Federation of Teachers, which played a larger role than anyone else in keeping schools closed for a year.
McAuliffe sent his kids to private school and his wife was on the board of that school. He accepted nearly $1 million from teachers unions in a state where many jurisdictions’ schools were closed to in-person learning for about a full year. Weingarten personally lobbied Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky, who incorporated part of the teachers’ union demands into her “scientific” guidance verbatim, even though Walensky had previously said that teachers faced less risk than the general population.
Days ago, new data revealed the devastating academic impact of school closures on all children, and in particular minority and disadvantaged ones. Here is the data for Fairfax County, the state’s most populous school district:
Even as adults resumed normal lives, schools remained closed in Virginia despite children’s lower propensity for spreading the virus. In Fairfax County, the top health official Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu said on October 6, 2020, that “schools can be open now,” explaining that “The entire northern Virginia [area] is currently experiencing low disease burden. Our transmission extent is low, it’s been low for a very long time.” But schools did not open. In fact, the next day, teachers in neighboring Prince William County staged a caravan protest with child-sized coffins propped on the roofs of their cars.
Children have still not returned to normal, as they are still required to wear masks in schools. But as the debate shifted from closed schools to the ideological content that parents discovered — thanks to their year of “distance learning” — consumed much of the school day, McAuliffe infamously said on a debate stage, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
Last week, Weingarten tweeted her approval of a Washington Post column headlined, “Parents claim they have the right to shape their kids’ school curriculum. They don’t.”
Let's call in one of the most recognizable villains of the past 18 months to close out the campaign.
Interesting strategy. https://t.co/kTFnEJ03Gb
— Erika Sanzi (@esanzi) November 2, 2021
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