Despite this clear evidence, some government school districts refuse to fully open under withering fire from the teachers and their unions. The damage to our kids’ education, mental health, and futures cannot be understated.
On this issue, Dr. Deb Kerr has made it clear that all government schools should reopen immediately. Her opponent, Dr. Jill Underly, is toeing the line of the state teachers union (which has endorsed her and poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into supporting her) in throwing up multiple conditions that must be met before those schools can open. Kerr is following the science and prioritizing kids’ lives and futures. Underly is determined to use the crisis as a political wedge to gain more concessions for the unions.
The second paramount issue on which the candidates differ is on school choice. Here again, Kerr is prioritizing children and their futures while Underly is defending the union’s priorities.
The pandemic pulled back the mask of our state’s education infrastructure to reveal some glaring inequities. Some of the government schools stepped up and responded heroically with a swift and thoughtful shift to virtual learning and an equally swift move back to hybrid and in-person education when the evidence supported it. Other government schools — particularly some of the state’s largest districts that serve economically disadvantaged communities — utterly failed at virtual education and are still resisting a return to in-person education.
The pandemic is groaning to an end, but it has highlighted some stark gaps in our government school system. Deb Kerr is the best candidate to begin to close some of those gaps.
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