“Once moms and dads realized that the Catholic schools left standing were staying open through the pandemic, they began moving children out of public school,” William McGurn wrote in The Wall Street Journal on Monday. This week is National Catholic Schools Week.
“Catholic schools prove you can keep classrooms open while keeping Covid-19 at bay, which gave teachers unions another reason to resent them,” McGurn said.
A tip of the hat to one of the unsung heroes of the Covid-19 pandemic: the Catholic school teacher. https://t.co/j7o80HPVxv
— Bill McGurn (@wjmcgurn) February 2, 2021
“The good news is that Covid-19 has heightened awareness that too many kids are held in education limbo by public-school systems that cannot put their students first because they are hostage to the unions,” McGurn said.
Three major cities, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, have let teacher unions dictate the return to in-person learning.
Take the three largest public-school systems. In New York, Catholic schools have been operating safely since the fall, while the teachers unions continue to fight returning to the classroom. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s latest is that he doesn’t plan to reopen public schools fully until September.
Ditto for Chicago. Here again students are back in their Catholic schools. But public school parents are out of luck: The Chicago Teachers Union has defied orders to return to class.
Los Angeles is home to the nation’s largest Catholic school system, with more than 70,000 students—78% of them children of color. Its situation is different because Gov. Gavin Newsom’s restrictions on school openings also apply to religious schools. But some Catholic schools have received waivers, and as soon as case rates fall below the state restrictions, almost all plan to reopen immediately.
Catholic schools are helping students from falling behind in their learning. “During the pandemic, America’s Catholic schools are providing a similar lifeline to hundreds of thousands of children,” McGurn said. Many of these students “would otherwise be out of class and losing ground.”