Published January 25, 2021
The Chicago Teachers Union’s refusal on Sunday to go back to the classroom is more than a possibly illegal strike. It is another example of unions failing to put the interest of students first.
The refusal to work comes in response to the Chicago school district’s decision to begin in-person instruction for K-8 students on Feb. 1. Approximately 3,200 pre-K and special needs students are already trying to attend in-person instruction that started two weeks ago, but teachers continue to refuse to attend classes and are trying to teach remotely.
A growing consensus finds that children from less-advantaged backgrounds are falling behind academically because remote learning does not work as well for them as for kids from more advantaged families. These students are disproportionally minorities, especially so for Chicago’s student body. Roughly 80 percent of the 355,000 children in Chicago Public Schools qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch, a factor that is often used as a proxy to measure a district’s population of low-income and working-class students. Staying out of the classroom will hurt children who can ill afford falling even further behind.
Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.