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Teacher unions are not the problem | READER COMMENTARY

Protesters march around State Circle. Return2Learn Maryland Schools, Reopen Howard County and several other groups hosted a rally at the Maryland State House last week to protest continued closure of schools, small business, churches, sports, etc. under coronavirus restrictions.
Protesters march around State Circle. Return2Learn Maryland Schools, Reopen Howard County and several other groups hosted a rally at the Maryland State House last week to protest continued closure of schools, small business, churches, sports, etc. under coronavirus restrictions. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)

The commentary, “Union politics hurts Maryland students” (Sept. 18), by Andrea Bottner is incredibly condescending. Teachers do not need to be lectured on the importance of in-person public schooling for the proper academic, social and emotional development of children — especially for the children who are not from privileged backgrounds. The fact is schools are by definition the kind of large, indoor public gatherings that can endanger the entire community, not just the people going to the school. It is a false choice to say that we can either take collective action to control the pandemic or sacrifice our children’s well-being. It is not possible to choose one or the other. Unless the pandemic is controlled, we will not have safe, effective schools or, for that matter, an economic recovery.

Sadly, proponents of this false choice often do so as cover for an unwillingness to align their own behaviors with the recommendations of public health professionals. This goes beyond just an unpatriotic refusal to make any personal sacrifices on behalf of the country, it is anti-patriotic in that it actively sabotages the efforts of those who are working to end the pandemic. Teachers and their unions are not the problem. The real damage is being done by the anti-patriots who demand that service to their self-interests requires other people to make sacrifices.

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Joseph Ganem, Baltimore

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