Above photo: Jesse Sharkey, president of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), speaks August 3 prior to the Occupy City Hall Protest and Car Caravan, organized by CTU and others. Kamil Krzacynski/AFP via Getty Images.
Demands for students and educators to return to in-person schooling during the pandemic are coming from Democrats and Republicans, both claiming the return is necessary not just to provide high-quality education, but to save the economy and get parents back to work. The narrative consciously exploits the needs of parents who may not have healthcare and who rely on public schools to care for and educate their children while they work. It pits parents, students, teachers and community members against one another, using (or ignoring) scientific data to suit the political purpose of moneyed interests — the bipartisan project of destroying public schools.