- Thomas Davis
False promises: Why the vaccine won't help students
On Monday, Kentucky's new education commissioner Jason Glass announced that Kentucky is set to become the first state to vaccinate all teachers.
Does this mean that Kentucky will be the first state to universally return to in-person instruction? Sadly, no, as Florida, Iowa, Arkansas, and Texas have already ordered their schools to reopen. But surely, this announcement should indicate that a statewide return to the classroom is right around the corner. Right? Unfortunately, that hope for a return to some semblance of normalcy was dashed hours later when the Courier Journal's education reporter Olivia Krauth pointed out that over half of the teachers union core membership opposes returning to the classroom even after receiving the vaccine!
This begs the obvious question: Why did the teachers union in Kentucky demand that they get vaccinated first if there was never a real intention to return the classroom? The graph below shows how special interests (i.e. the teachers unions) have negatively influenced the decision making of Governor Beshear and, consequently, our public health in Kentucky.
Parents are understandably angry about the above statistics as are the thousands of at-risk elderly who are still desperately waiting their turn for the vaccine. Therefore, Olivia Krauth jumped to the teachers union's defense on Twitter by reminding people that teachers are still teaching.
Of course, we fully recognize this fact. NTI is painful for students, parents, and teachers. However, the real question that continues to be ignored is:
Do the teachers unions realize that students are not learning? As an organization, Commonwealth Educational Opportunities supports choice. If the union doesn't want to return to work, we acknowledge that choice - even if we disagree with it. However, we believe that students and families should also have the choice on where to go to school. For example, if a child learns best with in-person instruction, then the tax dollars should follow that student to whichever school best meets that child's individual needs. Thankfully, HB 149 creates that opportunity for thousands of families across Kentucky by establishing Education Opportunity Accounts.
With nearly a quarter of the Kentucky House co-sponsoring HB 149, we are optimistic that school choice will finally become a reality in Kentucky in 2021.
If there is anything good in education that can result from the mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be educational policies that expand the educational opportunities of thousands of children statewide for generations to come.