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Unions Favor Safety and Science; Politicians Favor Cheap Child Care

August 31, 2020


It looks like the battle over school reopening is headed for court and the ultimate question will be whether science and safety will prevail over politics.

This article from The Hill uses the legal wrangle in Florida as a proxy for the court cases across the country, in part because it is first in line in terms of timing and also because it has clear battle lines.

Florida is first in line because they opened schools earlier than most states and it is the most clear cut because their Governor used his emergency powers to mandate that all schools be opened and providing face to face instruction five days a week or lose their state aid. In a state where parents are outnumbered and many voters are opposed to the closure of schools and the businesses due to the pandemic the Governor’s stance is probably popular with a majority of his supporters.

But COVID 19 doesn’t vote and neither do the children who will be exposed to the disease and, from all evidence will be exposing their parents and other family members to it, don’t vote either. Teachers and parents who are opposed to reopening the schools DO vote and are vocal and organized… and they also have the financial wherewithal to take the state to court where they will argue that science indicates that opening is a health risk.

One thing is very clear: if COVID 19 was running for office it would lose in a landslide. No one likes it and no one enjoys the restrictions it has imposed for nearly six months. That said, in nations where the disease was addressed in a uniform and unified fashion there are far fewer debates about reopening schools because these is also a uniform and unified set of standards used to make the decision.

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