The Association of Texas Professional Educators issued a statement denouncing Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath’s latest plan on reopening during the coronavirus pandemic. The largest Texas teachers association said that it is “alarmed by the subjectivity, arbitrariness, and overall lack of science-based metrics presented by this plan.”
This politically driven early reopening will result in the death of children, educators, and families.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on school reopenings:
“The science should not stand in the way of this.” pic.twitter.com/w6H9DM0uTV
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 16, 2020
A March 2020 report showed that 1000 cases of COVID-19 were community spread in Texas child care and daycare centers. The numbers have risen dramatically since then according to Houston Chronicle asst. city editor Felicia Mason, who said in the interview below that 2/3 of the infected were teachers and staff members.
Zeph Capo, president of the Texas branch of the American Federation of Teachers said that going on strike is an option if teachers are forced back into the classroom this fall without proper precautions for COVID-19.
Capo is adamant that striking to protect teachers and students is on the table. Though teachers can take advantage of some protections, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover people with underlying health conditions for a temporary reprieve for work, Capo said it won’t be enough for the entire Texas school system.
“Short of those things, they’ll have to join us on the line against the districts that want to force us to go back too soon,” he said.
Striking comes with real risks. Teachers in Texas are legally prohibited from striking, and doing so can cost them their retirement funds and their licenses. Capo said the situation is dire enough to call for desperate measures despite the “draconian” laws that the state has in place to prevent organized action for teachers’ rights.
“It is illegal, but it was illegal everywhere somewhere when it first happened,” Capo said. “There’s a point that you get to where you risk it all because conditions get too bad. If you’re not around to enjoy your retirement, what good does it do?”
This as the White House makes secret crucial Covid-19 reports, threatens defunding unless schools reopen despite the historic surge in cases, removes data from the CDC website and blocks CDC from testifying on reopening schools next week
This while Texas experienced on Friday the highest single-day COVID-19 death count since the pandemic began a Houston Chronicle data analysis found.
Science nor saving lives has ever gotten in the way of Texas conservatives immoral grab for power.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton declared on Friday that “Texas exempts religious private schools from reopening guidelines.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said Friday that private schools are exempt from having to follow local health restrictions regarding school reopenings.
Paxton said in an open letter to religious private institutions that forcing such schools to comply with local reopening guidelines would be unconstitutional.
Why this is of special interest to the LGBT community?
Besides the obvious humanitarian reasons, Texas teachers were among our strongest ally against Lt Gov. Dan Patrick’s Bathroom Bills in 2017. Texas Teachers joined with Police, social agencies and businesses, and hundreds of others in our successful fight to protect transgender children.
Those were dire and desperate times as this is. If it comes down to it I will join with the teachers on the line to save their lives.
More than a hundred protestors both on foot and by car came to #Austin Capital today for a Rally for Safe School Opening. Their horns and voices can be heard throughout downtown.#opentexasschoolssafely #TeacherSafetyIsEssential #safeTEA #texasteachersaretalking pic.twitter.com/VmMMtqSFjm
— Taylor Blount (@Third3y3Club) July 18, 2020