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WI Libertarian Legal Organization Wants Schools to Follow Science?

November 22, 2020


The op ed article linked above appeared in The Hill. Calling on school districts to “trust science” instead of teacher’s unions in making decisions about school closings. Here’s the concluding paragraph of the article by Will Flanders, the Research Director for the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty:

For months, every measure taken to combat COVID-19 has been done with an emphasis on “trusting the science.” But the science is increasingly indicating that in-person learning, on balance, is relatively safe and that the risks are far outweighed by the importance to children and families. Education is fundamental for all children, and if political ideology and teachers unions are the deciding factors for whether a district will meet in person or not — not the science and the evidence — then it seems that districts across the country may have their priorities a bit backwards.

There’s one problem with Mr. Flanders research: it focuses on the link between districts that have unions and districts that closed schools thereby ignoring the exogenous factors that the school boards might have considered in making their decisions. For example, it’s entirely possible that the districts represented by unions had higher community incidence of COVID than those districts without unions; or the schools in union districts might have greater problems with air quality; or parents at schools with unions might have been more insistent that schools be closed. The decision to reopen schools is based on a host of variables and I find it hard to believe that the existence of a teachers union was determinative.

A closing question for Mr. Flanders and his libertarian friends: did you support your Governor when he trusted science and insisted on face masks… or did you support the wholly political lawsuit against him?

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