New York City families have become unwilling homeschoolers in the last year as the pandemic shutdowns stretch on and on. Credit mayoral candidate Andrew Yang for calling out the teachers unions for depriving children of opportunities to learn in-person.
“I will confess to being a parent that has been frustrated by how slow our schools have been to open, and I do believe that the UFT has been a significant reason why our schools have been slow to open,” Mr. Yang told Politico, referring to New York City’s powerful United Federation of Teachers.
Mr. Yang is right. The UFT endorsed current Mayor
Bill de Blasio,
and its parent union also gave $350,000 to the mayor’s nonprofit amid contract negotiations. Throughout the pandemic, the UFT has driven the classroom closures, leaving students and parents hostage to their demands.
High schools will finally reopen Monday, following elementary and middle schools. Yet under the “blended learning” system, students still get three days or fewer a week in-person. The New York Post reported Friday that about 70% of children in the New York City school system are still exclusively remote. The Post also reported in January that more than one in 10 students were absent, and in 134 schools a quarter or more of the students were missing from class. Wealthy parents can hire tutors or send children to private schools, but the learning loss for poor kids will result in disparities that could last a lifetime.
Mr. Yang also supports charter schools, which the unions have tried to destroy. “Unfortunately, I think the main argument [against charters] is a political one, where teachers unions hate charters,” he said in a 2019 interview. “Teachers’ unions are a very, very powerful constituency. And so some politicians have said ‘I’m better served by getting behind this point of view.’”
Mr. Yang is leading in the early polls in this year’s mayoral race, and you can bet he’ll now be union enemy number one. New York’s parents and children should be grateful.
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Appeared in the March 20, 2021, print edition.
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