Op-ed by Rev. Michael Vaughn
While I have discussed this subject before, because things haven’t changed much, I am bringing it up again, using wording that may make people take notice. As I sit here today and write this article, public schools across New York State are not fully opened. The big question is why? I truly believe that it is not because the politicians and the powers that be care about the students, I believe it is the corrupt teacher’s union wielding power over weak politicians that are destroying the academic lives of black students. Why do I specifically speak about black children because in our urban areas these public schools are predominantly occupied by black and brown students. In m y humble opinion, this is the epitome of real racism!
For example, in New York City, I understand that some of the schools have the students attend while the teacher streams in the lesson! In what universe does this make sense? On CNN, someone from Joe Biden’s team was even intimating that schools may not fully reopen in the Fall of 2021, that is lunacy! However, in many of the private schools across this country and New York State, students have been going to school in person the ENTIRE TIME! What is different? These students are of the same age, getting taught similar material may even have the same susceptibility to COVID-19. Therefore if all of these items are the same, the only difference is that these private schools are not beholden to a teacher’s union that doesn’t care about the students. When will the people of New York State get fed up with the lies and fear mongering that is being perpetrated upon them? Not having schools fully opened NOW, is continually contributing to a poor academic life that black students in our urban centers were already experiencing.
Just like I believe that there are good police officers and that these officers need to be at the frontline of removing bad police officers; there are good teachers that do care about the students that are, unfortunately forced to be part of a union that doesn’t. These teachers need to do the hard thing and stand up and push back against the union to really combat the power hungry, control that the teacher’s union wields. If there are enough teachers that will raise their hands and say we got into this career for the students and they realize how bad the students are suffering under these false fears, the union would have to back down. In 2021 we need people that are willing to stand-up for right and call out the bad actors. Here in Rochester, the head of the Rochester Teachers Association has not been good for students since he started his tenure! Real racism is when you believe that your race is better than another. To believe that black students don’t have the right to learn in the best manner possible is to place them in a position where they will continually be playing “catch up” and this isn’t right! And the saddest thing is that there are not enough parents that are willing to stand-up against what is being done to their children.
Initially the requirement for re-opening was getting the vaccine to the teachers, now that most teachers have gotten the vaccine what is the issue now? Just as New York State and the Federal government keep moving the goalposts regarding getting back to “normal”, so too does the teacher’s union. I submit that it is because these politicians love the power they have found and that these unions enjoy getting money for not doing the work. The good teachers and the good politicians and those in the media that are real journalists need to take a stand against these racist policies that are digging deeper holes for black students to climb out of.
My heart yearns for these young folks and if I could, I would want to make the teacher’s union irrelevant, fire all teachers that have lost their first love and chase out of office all politicians that believe that these continual lockdowns are good for their constituents. Indeed, racism is alive and well in this country, it’s just that we’ve been focusing on the wrong group of professionals!
Rev. Michael is senior pastor of New Wineskin Church. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
(The views expressed on our opinion pages are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position or viewpoint of the Minority Reporter.)