Children should not be political pawns

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In the political battles over COVID-19, lockdowns, vaccines, and school closures, it is the children who are paying the price.

As the parents who struggled to oversee their children’s work during months of “distance learning” can attest, virtual schooling has a long way to go before it can measure up to in-person learning. And yet, there are still places in the country where unions are pushing to keep schools closed due to COVID-19.

For example, in Chicago, the teacher’s union has refused to return to in-person teaching, despite an influx of spending intended to create a safer environment and the urgings of the city’s Mayor. The showdown led to school closures this week, and it’s unclear whether a compromise is possible.

In what is unquestionably a no-win situation, the children are the biggest losers. Many kids have fallen behind in their schooling already. Continuing to postpone a return to the classroom could mean that these children will never catch up.

That is the topic of the newest episode of Wisdom for Today, which you can watch above.

As I explain in the video, I have a background in education and experience in teaching. But even with my resume, I felt the challenge of being both mom and teacher to my children during the lockdowns.

I understand the concerns of the teachers, but we must stop using children as pawns in our politics. By the time COVID is “beaten” and we solve all the issues related to health and schooling, it may be too late to repair the damage wrought to our children’s education and well-being. 

We know that education – especially in the early, foundational years – is tied to long-term success and other important socio-economic markers. Let’s put the focus back where it belongs – on the children – and stop using them for political advantage.