The sharp drop in math and reading scores is the result of "feckless" pandemic policies that kept schools closed, writes Andrew Rotherham on Eduwonk.
It's not just the teachers' unions, he writes.
For all the criticism of (AFT President) Weingarten, her argument was more or less teachers-first until the politics changed and she became a reopener (although all her members still haven’t gotten that message). I don’t recall Weingarten ever saying that kids were learning so much more out of school this was all OK, or that school wasn’t that important, or sentiments in that vein.
. . . This was a broader problem of rampant virtue signaling, reflexive tribalism as well as private revealed preferences (a lot of the folks against reopening were making sure their kids were not just killing time and had the means to do so) rather than just focusing on the immediate problem at hand -- educating kids at a disrupted time. Collectively, it visited a disaster on the kids who could least afford one.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona claims the Biden administration prioritized reopening schools. Not good messaging, writes Rotherham. "The idea that Democrats saved the day here is ludicrous on its face and just annoys parents who are ready to look forward. Acknowledging pandemic mistakes would go a long way toward rebuilding trust and confidence."