Despite hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars being spent to keep them safely open, a liberal organized labor group is pushing to shut down South Carolina’s failing government-run schools – insisting they provide exclusively virtual instruction due to rising Covid-19 cases in the Palmetto State.
SC for Ed – which previously called for teacher strikes related to Covid-19 – issued a statement earlier this week saying it was “dismayed by the choices of district and state leadership in response to the increased infection rate in South Carolina.”
Specifically, it accused state and local leaders of putting “teachers and students in harm’s way, clearly choosing misinformation over safety.”
“It is reprehensible to sacrifice the health of teachers by fostering an incorrect narrative of ‘learning loss’ in the midst of a global pandemic,” the group added, referring to recent reports which challenged the efficacy of virtual instruction.
To be clear: South Carolina wasn’t exactly at the top of the class in terms of academic achievement before the pandemic hit. In fact, it was at the bottom of most national rankings – a trend which has sadly continued into the pandemic (despite record funding increases).
This news outlet has previously challenged SC for Ed, arguing “schools do not appear to be driving the rise in Covid-19 cases – or even spreading the virus, especially.”
Even Dr. Anthony Fauci – director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and arguably one of the most notorious Covid-19 fear-mongers – belatedly acknowledged last month that America should “keep the schools open” despite higher case numbers.
“The default position should be to try as best as possible within reason to keep the children in school, or to get them back to school,” Fauci told ABC’s This Week.
“The spread among children and from children is not really very big at all,” Fauci admitted.
Just this week, a new study (.pdf) was published by Duke University related to the “incidence and secondary transmission of (Covid-19) infections in school.” The study found the occurrence of such transmissions was “extremely limited.”
“They are seeing a lot of community acquired infections, but only a very small number of secondary in school infections,” Brown University economist Emily Oster noted in assessing the data. “Notably, none of these are child to adult.”
Still, SC for Ed claimed that “reopening schools is most dangerous under conditions like ours.”
“To reopen schools for in person instruction before first taking steps to drastically reduce the spread through the state is irresponsible, dangerous and unacceptable,” the group added.
SC for Ed is part of a left-leaning national organized labor movement – “Red for Ed.” In 2019, the state organization organized teacher walkouts over education funding complaints – prompting legislative leaders (and governor Henry McMaster) to cave to their demands.
Will they cave again?
Certainly the government money spigot has been flowing freely in the Palmetto State of late …
At last count, funding for government-run schools in South Carolina stood at a record $14,227 per pupil per year (or $11.2 billion total) – not counting thousands more in local borrowing. Meanwhile, at last count local government run schools were hoarding an estimated $1.53 billion in unrestricted cash reserves – a number that soared by nearly $200 million from the previous fiscal year.
Just last month, the S.C. Department of Education (SCDE) announced it was appropriating $84.3 million in federal Covid-19 relief aimed at supporting “reopening efforts” – money that came on top of the $194.7 million in previous Covid-19 relief doled out to school districts. According to the agency, that money “can be used for a broader range of COVID-19 related expenditures between March 13, 2020 to September 30, 2022.”
Additionally, SCDE has spent another $50 million to purchase “personal protective equipment and safety supplies for all school districts in the state.” Oh, and tens of millions in additional funding is coming as part of the latest federal “stimulus.”
SC for Ed has blocked this news outlet from following its missives on social media – and has previously accused us of publishing factually inaccurate “hit pieces” against the organization. Even so, our open microphone policy still extends to this group – or any of its representatives who wish to engage our readers.
We are happy to publish (unedited and unfiltered) letters to the editor or guest columns which make the group’s points regarding school re-openings – or any other issue.
Once again, any individual or organization with an intelligent take on any subject is welcome in our corner of the marketplace of ideas – even if they are advocating something contrary to what we believe (or are criticizing us over our positions).
That is what the free flow of ideas is all about …
What do you think? Vote in our poll and post your thoughts in our always engaging comments section below …
Should South Carolina government-run schools go fully virtual in light of rising Covid-19 cases?
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