Editor: The recent FOIA request for correspondence between Loudoun County representatives and the Virginia Education Association has revealed a clear pattern; Virginia’s teacher’s union (VEA) continues to fearmonger to our elected representatives at the expense of our children, and the future of education in Virginia.
The VEA only seeks to have schools remain partially closed for as long as possible.
The recent approach to returning to a lightly hybridized model for in-person/virtual learning satisfies the wish list of the union but gives little relief to parents. More importantly, SB1303, a substitute bill for re-opening that has the support of Gov. Northam, the VEA, and state Democrats, does not follow the science outlined by the CDC. The fact is that responsible approaches to in-person learning does not pose a significant threat of Covid 19 spread according to the CDC.
It is long past time for Virginia to return to offering full in-person learning. We were promised that under Democratic leadership, our elected officials would “follow the science.” What is very clear is that the promise should have come with an asterisk: follow the science* when politically expedient and supported by the teacher’s union.
If parents individually decide that they do not want their child participating in in-person learning, it is their prerogative to seek educational choices that align with their values as a family; just as advocates for vouchers, school choice, charter schools, and private schools have argued for years.
However, the VEA who has coordinated an effort to introduce a fear of re-opening, pressure our officials, and not follow the science behind an informed policy of school re-opening should not dictate Loudoun’s approach to education policy. They clearly do not have the interest of our children, our education system, or our communities at heart.
We stand on the precipice of losing a generation to education failure, simply because the VEA is refusing to do its job. Tragically, those who are falling the farthest behind are lower-income communities who do not have the resources for connectivity, or the time to supplement the education of their children, as all parents have been asked to do this year.
Members of the union who refuse to return to in-person learning despite the prioritization of vaccinating teachers ahead of other workers who have been working in-person for nearly a year, and after over a hundred billion dollars were spent in federal aid to provide for safe school re-opening should be terminated and replaced with non-unionized passionate educators who want to be with students and will adhere to public health guidance.
Maybe then Loudoun’s children will receive an education that teaches the science that our leadership and the union has chosen to ignore.
Michael Craigmile, Waterford