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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

#RedforEd Movement, Teachers’ Union Push to Delay Arizona School Openings

Leaders of the #RedforEd movement and Arizona’s teachers’ union are pushing for the state’s K-12 public schools to remain closed for in-person instruction until October at the earliest.

As Breitbart News reported in February 2019:

A well-funded and subversive leftist movement of teachers in the United States threatens to tilt the political balance nationwide in the direction of Democrats across the country as Republicans barely hang on in key states that they need to hold for President Donald Trump to win re-election and for Republicans to have a shot at retaking the House and holding onto their Senate majority.

This teachers union effort, called #RedforEd, has its roots in the very same socialism that President Trump vowed in his 2019 State of the Union address to stop, and it began in its current form in early 2018 in a far-flung corner of the country before spreading nationally. Its stated goals–higher teacher pay and better education conditions–are overshadowed by a more malevolent political agenda: a leftist Democrat uprising designed to flip purple or red states to blue, using the might of a significant part of the education system as its lever.

Reuters reported on Saturday that teachers in Arizona are returning to the #RedforEd activism launched in March 2018 to lobby against school reopenings in August:

Inspired by Black Lives Matter demonstrations, hundreds of Arizona teachers like [Stacy] Brosius are putting on red t-shirts they last wore in a 2018 strike and driving around cities in cars daubed with slogans like: “Remote learning won’t kill us but COVID can!”

With “motor marches” spreading to other coronavirus-hit sunbelt states, including Florida, and counter demonstrators organizing “reopen” rallies, the fight over the new school year is fast becoming America’s new protest flashpoint.

In Arizona, teachers want Republican Governor Doug Ducey to push the start of in-person school to at least early October after a beloved educator died of COVID-19 teaching summer school and statewide hospitalizations and deaths spiral.

The Hill reported that the Arizona Education Association (AEA) is escalating the political battle surrounding  the reopening of schools in the state:

Teachers are planning a significant automobile strike on July 22. They will circle the capitol and governor’s office to protest the state’s current plans to resume in-person classes at the beginning of the school year while also demanding better funding for the education system.

“This is a core piece of what our educators come together for, which is to demand that schools are properly funded,” said Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association (AEA.) “Until we can see that, we are not ready to come back to schools.”

AEA President Joe Thomas was a well-known supporter of the origins of the #RedforEd movement in Arizona in 2018, as Breitbart News reported.

Last week, the AEA released a video that included a “call to action” to flood Gov. Ducey’s office with a petition that lists seven demands he must meet before the union would agree to return to in-person primary and secondary school student instruction in K-12 public schools.

The Associated Press reported the AEA’s demands came as a number of #RedforEd teachers held “motor marches” around Phoenix:

Several Arizona teachers voiced fears from their cars Wednesday about returning to school in a state that continues to be ravaged by the coronavirus.

Nearly 20 cars with painted messages like #Return2SchoolSafelyxxxx traveled in a short procession in central Phoenix. It was one of six “motor marches” organized by members of the Arizona #RedforEd group calling on Gov. Doug Ducey to close schools until case numbers trend downward. Currently, public schools are ordered to delay the start of the classes at least until Aug. 17.

“Sure he pushed it back,” said Chico Robinson, one of the march coordinators and a social studies teacher. “But let’s be honest —we’re seeing numbers of 4,000, we’ve seen a 5,000 number. That’s nowhere safe to return our students and definitely not our educators.”

New York magazine reported more details of the political engagement of #RedforEd teachers attempting to delay the opening of K-12 public schools in Arizona:

In Arizona, educators have called for a delayed start to the school year. Some teachers’ unions have also asked for instruction to move entirely online for the fall, deeming it the best way to balance a worker’s right to safety and a student’s right to learn.

“Academically our students will fall behind, but we can help them recover from that situation. However, our students cannot recover from death by coronavirus,” Kamp says, bluntly. Of course, neither can teachers, and some are now contemplating a return to activism. Kamp supported the state’s Red for Ed walkout in 2018, and says she’d support another one now. Rhodes also participated in Arizona’s earlier walkout, and says she can imagine a similar, socially distanced expression of outrage if Arizona’s Republican governor tries to force teachers back into classrooms. On Wednesday, a number participated in a series of “motor marches” asking the state’s governor, Doug Ducey, to delay the beginning of school. Others have signed a letter asking Ducey to delay all in-person teaching until October.

“I can tell you that something is going to happen,” Rhodes says. “There are going to be schools where teachers do not return because of this virus. And because the government or schools individually are deciding to say, ‘We’re opening school, and you need to be here to work.’ Which is going to be horrible.” Another Arizona teacher, speaking to Intelligencer anonymously for fear of retaliation, echoes Rhodes. “The reality is that organizing has begun,” she says.  She’s waiting to see what Ducey, a Republican, does next.

Presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden recently indicated his support for efforts to postpone K-12 school reopenings when he tweeted, “Forcing educators and students back into classrooms in areas where infection rates are going up or remaining too high is just plain dangerous.”

As Breitbart News reported, that claim “does not hold up to the ‘science’ standard Democrats are always touting as their guide”:

For example, former Stanford University Chief of Neurology Dr. Scott Atlas told Fox News this week that a similar claim made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is “ludicrous” and can only be described as “hysteria.”

“That’s just completely wrong, and contrary to all the science,” Atlas, now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, told The Story host Martha MacCallum.

“I’m not sure how many times it has to be said, but the risk to children from this disease and the fatality is nearly zero,” Atlas explained. “The risk of children for a significant illness is far less from the seasonal flu. … This is totally antithetical to the data.”

Breitbart News reported that NBC News interviewed five pediatricians, all of whom said it was time for kids to get back to school:

Torres said, “As schools struggle with reopening safely, NBC News reached out to five top pediatricians across the country. A random sampling of doctors to find out just how dangerous the coronavirus is for kids. Our experts agree most children don’t get as sick as adults and that serious complications are rare.”

He added, “In fact, kids only account for 2% of all cases. doctors say they don’t expect that number to significantly increase when schools open because kids don’t appear to be good at spreading the virus.”

Dr. Lighter said, “The data that’s come out now seems to show that most transmissions occur from adults to adults or adults to children.”

Torres said, “While many teachers are concerned about reopening school so soon, the five doctors we spoke to agree the benefits of being in the classroom far outweigh the risk of disease. But the key is to reopen safely.”

He added, “All agreed, guidelines should include rules for social distancing, keep desks 3 to 6 feet apart and make sure desks are facing away from each other. They may want to consider holding gym classes outside.”

A study of COVID-19 in primary schools released by the Institut Pasteur in France in June concluded, “No significant transmission among children or from students to teachers”:

The study conducted by the Institut Pasteur identified three probable cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection in three primary schools in Crépy-en-Valois before the schools closed for the February vacation and then for the lockdown in Crépy-en-Valois. But there was no secondary transmission of the virus to other children at the school, or from children to teachers. Most of the children were infected by their family members, probably their parents. The results are reassuring in view of the reopening of primary schools but they need to be confirmed by other studies in a school environment. A previous study by the same authors at the high school in Crépy-en-Valois demonstrated that a much higher proportion of high school students were infected during the February outbreak and that teachers and other school staff were also affected by the outbreak.

“Overall, the results of this study are comparable to those of studies carried out in other countries, which suggest that children aged between 6 and 11 are generally infected in a family environment rather than at school. The main new finding is that the infected children did not spread the virus to other children or to teachers or other school staff. These results need to be confirmed by other studies, given the low number of introductions of the virus in the schools under study,” commented Arnaud Fontanet, lead author of the study, Head of the Epidemiology of Emerging Diseases Unit at the Institut Pasteur and a Professor at the CNAM. “Once again, the willingness of the people of Crépy-en-Valois to take part in this study gave us the opportunity to further our knowledge about the virus so that we can be as well prepared as possible for children to return to school,” continues Arnaud Fontanet.

“The study also confirmed that younger children infected by the novel coronavirus generally do not develop symptoms or present with minor symptoms that may result in a failure to diagnose the virus. The highly characteristic signs of loss of taste and smell were not observed at all in children under the age of 15, despite being experienced by half of the adults,” adds Bruno Hoen, last author of the study and Medical Research Director at the Institut Pasteur.

According to the COVID Tracking Project, new daily cases of coronavirus in Arizona have declined from 4,877 on July 1 to 2,977 on July 18. Current hospitalizations have increased from 2,876 on July 1 to 3,277 on July 18.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 2,741 residents of Arizona have died of COVID 19, according to the Arizona Department of Health.

Eighty percent of those who have died of COVID-19, or 2,o13, were 65 years of age or older.

Less than one half of one percent of those have died of COVID-19, or ten, were under the age of 20.

The AEA and the #RedforEd movement ignore the desires of many teachers who want to return to school but feel politically intimidated, as this parent’s tweet indicates:

 

 

Even more significantly, neither the AEA nor the #RedforEd movement address a fundamental problem that will result from delays in opening K-12 public schools: the unrecoverable developmental losses from kids — especially primary school kids — not being allowed to attend schools in person.



Breitbart

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