The teachers unions are not making a lot of friends these days. Their insistence on keeping schools closed out of fears of COVID is damaging to children. And they seem to be going out of their way to blow up relationships, especially with the parents who pay their taxes, i.e., teacher salaries!
The first fact is that remote learning is a disaster, especially for disadvantaged students.
I recommend an article Alec MacGillis wrote for ProPublica last fall on how things were going for students in Baltimore. It paints a finely grained portrait of chaos: online classes in which almost no students show up, schedules rearranged at the last minute, Zoom links that are inaccessible. The 12-year-old boy at the center of the piece was passionate about school before the pandemic, but by last fall he was talking about school in the past tense.
The broader data on school closure is horrendous. Mental health problems have increased. Many children have simply vanished from official oversight. Schools in Hillsborough County, Fla., started the year missing 7,000 students.
The children who are attending aren’t learning much. A Stanford study suggested that the average student has lost at least a third of a year’s worth of learning in reading and three-quarters of a year’s worth of learning in math.