By Democrats’ Standards, Their School Closures Are Systemic Racism

By Democrats’ Standards, Their School Closures Are Systemic Racism

While the Biden administration still refuses to say whether schools should be fully open this fall, new data shows systemic racial disparities in the availability of in-person education.
Joy Pullmann
By

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris called it “systemic racism“ when a white cop knelt on a black man for almost 10 minutes. But teachers unions largely led by white people have knelt on the futures of black American kids for 13 months, and Democrats are taking millions to look away.

While the Biden administration still refuses to say whether schools should be fully open this fall despite rolling lockdowns already damaging two school years, new data shows systemic racial disparities in the availability of in-person education.

“Eighty percent of public schools were open for at least some in-person learning by the end of February, according to a government survey, but an estimated 78 percent of Asian eighth-graders were learning in a fully remote environment,” Politico reported last week. “Nearly 60 percent of Black and Hispanic eighth-graders also learned at home full time.”

The publication noted that these racial disparities were present earlier in the lockdowns as well. “Nationwide, 52 percent of white fourth graders were back inside public schools full time by the end of February, according to the latest available estimates from a government school reopening survey Biden commissioned. But between 54 and 69 percent of Black, Hispanic and Asian fourth-graders were enrolled in full-time remote instruction at that point…”

U.S. Democrats have undeniably been the party pushing, enabling, and excusing school closures while leftist-led countries all over the world reopened schools starting as early as a year ago after initial lockdowns in March 2020. The consequences include deeply worsening the education of vulnerable children that was typically of low quality even pre-lockdowns.

There’s strong evidence that Democrats’ subservience to unions at the expense of children is a driving factor in this systemic display of racial injustice. On May 1, newly uncovered emails provided even more evidence that Democrats pushed to keep schools closed against kids’ best interests because of their huge financial entanglement with teachers unions. The New York Post reports:

The American Federation of Teachers lobbied the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on, and even suggested language for, the federal agency’s school-reopening guidance released in February.

The powerful teachers union’s full-court press preceded the federal agency putting the brakes on a full re-opening of in-person classrooms, emails between top CDC, AFT and White House officials show.

The emails show that the nation’s second-largest conglomerate of teachers unions helped write the “science” agency’s rules for schools. “In at least two instances, language ‘suggestions’ offered by the union were adopted nearly verbatim into the final text of the CDC document,” the Post reports.

Since 1990, AFT has donated more than $103 million to political campaigns, with only 0.26 percent of that total going to any Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. AFT spent almost $20 million on behalf of Democrats in 2020.

Minority children are concentrated in districts that Democrats control. These school districts are overwhelmingly the nation’s poorest-performing and typically have been failing children going back decades. After Biden took office, Democrats paid back teachers unions for their massive political and financial support by sending the schools they control $213 billion in additional funding with no requirement to reopen.

A March data analysis found that “neither money nor local COVID infection rates are at all related to whether schools reopen or stay closed.” What were the biggest factors determining whether a public school offered in-person instruction? How locally powerful were teachers unions and the Democrat Party.

Plenty of other data reinforces this. For example:

The distance between what Democrats say they care for — vulnerable minorities, the poor — and what they actually do has increased in the past year, with devastating results. Even though 80 percent of school personnel are vaccinated right now and we now have a year’s worth of solid evidence that lockdowns devastate children’s life opportunities, the Biden administration is still not willing to definitively say that children should be back in school in four more months.

Democrats have gotten so much out of COVID that they are unwilling to let the indefinite leverage go, no matter how many people’s lives they ruin in the process. Teachers unions are holding poor, brown, and black children’s futures hostage, and Democrats are making taxpayers pay repeated ransoms without even negotiating hostage releases in return, while also expecting to see a cut of the loot. It makes “we’re all in this together” look like a very dark and cynical lie, indeed.

Far from bearing any relation to “the science,” the availability of in-person instruction in the past year has been largely a question of politics. That is reinforced further by the data about COVID’s risks to school-age children, which are smaller than many other risks parents continue to take daily, such as walking up stairs and driving cars. This risk calculus is exactly why even leftist-controlled foreign peer nations such as Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands started reopening their schools almost an entire year ago.

Yet for the vast majority of American kids, and an even larger proportion of non-white American kids, schools have been closed. While Democrats forced taxpayers to send one of their largest political donors billions more dollars despite keeping schools closed, kids have been devastated by the closures, especially poor and minority children.

The costs to these children, and to the entire nation’s future, are tremendous. Experts are expecting American kids to be set back at least an entire year in math on average, and to likely never recover. This much learning evaporation is associated with tens of trillions of dollars in lost national prosperity, as well as tens of thousands of dollars of lost lifetime income for each individual.

Such financial costs are easier to quantify but less important than the far bigger costs in lost happiness for an entire generation whose childhoods have been damaged purely for the sake of Democrats’ political power. Children who were at risk of never finishing high school before lockdowns have been now callously written off as so many future welfare dependents in some technocrat’s calculations, rather than even given a fighting chance to earn their own happiness through life achievements.

Lockdowns have also ruined families and friendships, exacerbated child abuse, caused many children to die by suicide, destroyed the life’s work of millions, caused millions to starve, politicized the very act of breathing, and perpetrated thousands more unquantifiable evils upon the entire world. All of this has hit the most vulnerable kids hardest. It’s why Dr. Jay Bhattacharya calls lockdowns “the single biggest public health mistake in history.”

If it were Republicans visiting this much darkness upon the world for their own benefit, Democrats would not hesitate to call it, among other things, verifiable proof of systemic racism. But because Democrats are doing it, all these horrors are simply waved away, jeered at, and ignored. Almost nobody with power seems to care how many people Democrats have put in this situation are screaming, “I can’t breathe.”

Joy Pullmann is executive editor of The Federalist, a happy wife, and the mother of six children. Sign up here to get early access to her next book, "How To Control The Internet So It Doesn’t Control You." Her bestselling ebook is "Classic Books for Young Children." A Hillsdale College honors graduate, @JoyPullmann is also the author of "The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids," from Encounter Books.

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