The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty has done a study which shows what we all anecdotally knew. Unions and politics are driving school closures. COVID is just the excuse. If you want to see systemic classism/racism, look to the public school system.
Diving Deeper: As the new school year approached in 2020, individual school districts in Wisconsin had to make important decisions about in-person learning or using virtual options. But how much did the local presence of the COVID-19 virus factor into these decisions? Research Director Will Flanders, author of Politics in the Pandemic: The Role of Unions in School Reopening Decisions, finds that factors other than the local presence of the virus appear to have played a much larger role.
Union presence predicts a school going virtual. Districts with a teachers union were more likely to go virtual than districts without a teachers union.
Political ideology predicts a school going virtual. Districts with a higher percentage of votes for President Trump in 2016 and 2020 were more likely to open, while those with a higher percentage for Hillary Clinton were more likely to remain shuttered.
COVID-19 cases in an area were not predictive. The per-capita rate of COVID-19 cases in an area was not significantly predictive of whether a school district would reopen or not.
Districts with more low-income children are more likely to go virtual. As the percentage of students in a district who are low-income increases, so does the likelihood that the district will have chosen virtual education for the fall.