Who’s the woke white guy in dreadlocks in that viral video taking his daughter to in-person learning at a private school?
If you’re a parent in one of the many lockdown public school districts across the country where teachers unions dictate Democratic Party politics and refuse to “follow the science,” you know who it is. And if you don’t know, you should.
He’s Matt Meyer, the Berkeley Federation of Teachers president, who has been chest-thumping about no in-person learning in his district for months. Public school kids haven’t been in school for almost a full year.
Meyer is a hypocrite, yes.
But he should be a poster boy for the school choice movement to free families whose children are trapped in underperforming public schools and give them alternatives.
Taxpayers who’ve wanted their children back in school for months as the pandemic began to wane, and as vaccines have become available, have been routinely subjected to angry criticism on social media. If they dare speak up, they’re hated on and race-shamed by union leaders and their allies whose wages they subsidize through their tax dollars.
A back-to-school parent group calling themselves Guerrilla Momz filmed, at a distance, Meyer taking his daughter to in-person learning at a private preschool. Their video went viral.
“Meet Matt Meyer. White man with dreads and president of the local teachers’ union,” Guerrilla Momz tweeted out over the weekend. “He’s been saying it is unsafe for *your kid* to be back at school, all the while dropping his kid off at private school.”
In response, Meyer told a local public radio station, “I have my 2-year-old in preschool. Unfortunately, there are not public schools for kids her age.”
Fair enough. But if there were such programs in his local public school, his daughter couldn’t attend because she’d be locked out by daddy.
There are many dedicated public schoolteachers and union members who realize the damage being done. And yet in lockdown states, they’re paid to not show up in the classroom.
Yet what of the children of union electricians and carpenters, union sanitation workers who pick up the garbage, union grocery store clerks, cops, firefighters and others? Their parents can’t work on Zoom.
And the guy with the double standard is but one member of a great woke pandemic herd. They shout: “Rules for thee, but not for me.”
In lockdown states, the political ruling classes send their children to private schools that are open for in-person learning, while condemning children without means to rot in front of a video screen. In big city school systems in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York and other urban areas, many of the public school student body come from economically disadvantaged low- and middle-income Black and brown families.
These are the same families that the ruling elites of the left keep yammering at with their talk of “equity” and “systemic racism.”
Yet, if there’s anything more systemically racist than white elites sentencing Black and brown children to educational oblivion, I don’t know what is.
The negative effects of remote learning won’t be fully understood for some time, but reasonable people understand that the damage — scholastically and emotionally — will be profound.
Even as left-of-center Democratic politicians began to respond to anxious parents by trying to open schools, the hard-left teachers unions and their allies pick up their progressive weapon of choice: race-shaming.
The United Teachers of Los Angeles, California’s largest teachers union, slammed a school reopening plan by liberal California Democrats, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, as “a recipe for propagating structural racism.”
This comes just days after Charda Bell-Fontenot of San Diego County’s La Mesa-Spring Valley Board of Education, said the push to reopen schools was evidence of “white supremacy.”
“That seems like a very white supremacy ideology to conform,” she said. “Privilege you guys … check it … I’m not gonna force anyone to do what they don’t wanna do. That’s what slavery is.”
In Chicago, when Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her schools CEO, Janice Jackson, tried to reopen the public schools, leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union characterized her efforts in a since deleted tweet: “The push to reopen schools is rooted in sexism, racism and misogyny.”
Lightfoot is a Black woman and a parent of a daughter who attends private school. Jackson is a Black woman and former teacher and principal. Their efforts to get kids back in school at least part time was rooted in “sexism, racism and misogyny.” Sure.
In Evanston, Illinois, where frustrated parents formed the Coalition to Reopen Evanston Schools, the teachers union president, GionMatthias Schelbert, said their push was “not putting students first, and not putting education first, but is putting white privilege first.”
Politics is a river that always runs downstream of culture. And the culture now is largely dictated by the woke, including in many newsrooms, print and broadcast across the country, with journalists blinded, perhaps, by their own biases and unable to see the havoc wreaked on children.
Where are the children and parents and taxpayers in that river?
They’re so far downstream you can hardly hear them, stuck in the mud and worried about being shamed and targeted on social media.
But they love their kids.
While not woke, they’re waking up to real school choice.
John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. His e-mail address is email@example.com
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