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Trump Wants to Blame Teachers for Problem He Created

July 27, 2020

Public school English teacher and author Anne Lutz Fernandez wrote an NBC editorial describing the blame game going on in Washington DC where President Trump is trying to shift the blame for the failure to open schools onto teachers. Ms. Fernandez patiently pushes back against this by noting that teachers are neither the heroes they were hailed as when they quickly adapted to remote learning nor the villains Mr. Trump is now making them out to be.

Ms. Fernandez understates what is going on. Mr. Trump and the GOP know that his base is fundamentally anti-intellectual and, as such, find teachers and especially good target. After all, teachers epitomize the educated class who continually point out how important education is and how it is the key to success. Unsuccessful students, they assert, will never be successful inline and that assertion echoes in the minds of every anti-intellectual be they economically successful or not.

But generic teachers are not nearly as fat a target as teachers’ unions… and it is the unions who are taking the blame even more than individual teachers. It is the union, after all, who protects the “bad apples” from being fired, the union that promotes the need for failsafe protection against COVID as a condition for returning to work, it is the union that wants teachers to continue being paid even if their courses and services are not being provided on line. And even parents who love their child’s teacher can be persuaded to feel antipathy toward the union… and if those parents are among the sizable minority who want schools reopened under any condition or among the majority who wish they didn’t have to ride heard over their unmotivated children having the union to blame depersonalizes the complicated issue of reopening and creates a “bad guy” everyone can agree is to blame.

Readers of this blog have, I hope, recall that I saw this one coming a while back… it didn’t take a lot of intuition or foresight to see that the GOP and the POTUS would be shifting the blame away from the ineptitude of the POTUS’ response to the pandemic to the usual suspects: teachers and people who try to avoid returning to work so they can collect undeserved welfare funds.

There is one thing I am dismayed over, however: the epidemiologists seemingly caved to the pressure from the POTUS and issued a set of mushy suggestions instead of guidelines or, better yet for decision makers, firm regulations. Had the CDC issued firm recommendations or regulations there would be only one debate on how best to open schools…. instead there are 13,000+ debates since virtually every governor has made the decision on whether to open or not one that local school boards can make… The buck on decision making gets passed… but the bucks from Washington seem to get lost….

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