California’s chronically dysfunctional governing administration lead by Governor Newsom and a self-serving teacher unions continue to throw roadblocks in the path to reopening schools. School closures have significantly depressed children’s learning, emotional health and social development. According to news sources, Mental health-related emergency room cases have increased 24 percent for 5- to 11-year-olds and 31 percent for 12- to 17-year-olds since the pandemic began, as children struggle with isolation and impersonal learning. Math test scores have decreased by as much as 10 percent in year-over-year comparisons.
The unions’ public stance is that they are unwilling to accept the CDC’s recommendation, and are demanding that all teachers be vaccinated before they return to school. Given how California has stumbled in its vaccination performance, which ranks 39th in the country, vaccinating all California teachers might take until the end of the school year in June. There are also union demands for more money, and for lots of other things. Early childhood education. Colleges. Trade schools. Addressing poverty. Racial equity within society. And more funding for public, traditional (non-charter) schools, which the union claims are chronically underfunded. How underfunded are California schools? Adding in spending on teacher pensions, which is deferred compensation, and capitalizing state education bond financing payments, California K-12 spending per-pupil exceeds $20,000 annually. That amounts to over $400,000 per year for a classroom with 20 students.