Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D) is telling teachers that they need to “suck it up” and return to the classroom so that in-person learning can resume despite concerns about COVID-19.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Stephanie Rule, Bloomberg raised concerns about the harm being done to “poor kids” by keeping students out of the classrooms due to concerns about the coronavirus.
“They will never recover from this and they had a bad education experience anyways,” Bloomberg said as he argued children from less affluent families did not have good schools available to them.
He continued, “The president has to stand up to the unions… The teachers say, ‘Well, I don’t want to go back because it’s dangerous.’ We have a lot of city and state and federal employees who run risks. That’s part of the job. You run risks to help America.”
Bloomberg argued that there is “no reason” why schools should remain closed for in-person education as he claimed online learning is “a joke.”
He explained that children from low-income families typically do not have tablets or computers or WiFi access to participate in the online classes, nor do they have someone to “sit during the day and force” the child “to pay attention.”
Watch the video below:
EXCLUSIVE: @MikeBloomberg tells @SRuhle "It's time for Joe Biden to stand up and say the kids are the most important things…and teachers just are going to have to suck it up and stand up and provide an education. Otherwise these kids have no chance whatsoever."@MSNBC pic.twitter.com/UYSSvQeh6W— MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle (@RuhleOnMSNBC) February 3, 2021
He turned his attention to the Chicago Teachers Union’s (CTU) efforts to refuse the resumption of in-person learning and the threat of a strike if city officials push to reopen schools.
“It’s time for Joe Biden to stand up and say the kids are the most important things… and teachers just are going to have to suck it up and stand up and provide an education. Otherwise, these kids have no chance whatsoever,” he added.
Due to concerns about their safety and the spread of the coronavirus, thousands of public school teachers in Chicago are refusing to return to their classrooms to allow in-person learning to resume. And around the country, teachers are voicing their concerns about returning to the classroom.
Since last year, there has been a focus on the potential harm done to students’ education by having a prolonged pause of in-person learning. Studies have shown that, historically, prolonged disruptions in education have had deleterious impacts on students.
Additionally, as Bloomberg noted, children from low-income families are less likely to have access to computers or WiFi to participate in online learning — making it likely that they will face greater setbacks in their educational experience.
Beyond students, online learning has also had an economic impact as some parents have quit their jobs so they can care for their children at home.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters on Wednesday that “there is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated.”