Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe doesn’t seem to care that children of color were disproportionately hit by the drastic COVID-19 shutdowns of most public schools across the state.
Learning loss for students of color in traditional public schools, due to perpetual shutdowns pushed for by reliably progressive teachers unions, came even as many private and charter schools successfully reopened. They did so, in part, so as to stop learning loss for vulnerable students.
National Journal reported that McAuliffe “declined comment when asked, in hindsight, if it was a mistake for schools to be closed last year.”
McKinsey Consulting was clear about the cumulative learning loss from school shutdowns. It reported the losses “could be substantial, especially in mathematics — with students on average likely to lose five to nine months of learning by the end of this school year. Students of color could be six to 12 months behind, compared with four to eight months for white students. While all students are suffering, those who came into the pandemic with the fewest academic opportunities are on track to exit with the greatest learning loss.”
Question: Do white liberal leaders such as McAuliffe, President Joe Biden, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, or union boss Randi Weingarten even care about student learning loss?
They can’t be bothered to address the issue that has plagued parents. They’re too busy flouting their own restrictions and, in Newsom’s case, sending his own children to private schools where in-person instruction stayed intact while poor black and Latino children suffered.
That private and public charter schools heroically remained open to serve students and reduce learning losses last year is admirable. They also proved that the public schools didn’t need to stay closed to protect student health. Public charter schools unleash the type of creativity and passion in both teachers and students that cause them to outperform traditional public schools. So it’s no wonder that the traditional public school union-bought McAuliffe in 2017 vetoed a bill that the Washington Post said “would have eased the creation of charter schools, delivering a blow to the push to increase the number of charters in a state where they have struggled to gain a foothold.”
Charter schools are an immensely popular choice for black and brown parents, yet, Democrats’ 2020 party platform called for restrictions on charter schools and an outright ban on for-profit charter entities. This is a far leftward shift from 2000. Back then, Democrats wanted to triple the number of charter schools!
Contrast Democrats like McAuliffe with GOP rival Glenn Youngkin, who wants to reopen and strengthen all schools safely and quickly, including charters. Though McAuliffe has tried to tar Youngkin as wanting to cut education funding, Youngkin has actually proposed the largest education budget in Virginia history.
Of course, McAuliffe is also the candidate who says parents shouldn’t get input into what schools actually teach. The truth is clear. McAuliffe is an out-of-touch, former government bureaucrat who has forgotten who public servants actually work for. The most vulnerable students of color suffer because of it.