Now that there are nearly two million recall signatures and parents are so fed up with COVID closures that they’re going after the LA teachers’ union, Governor Gavin Newsom has chosen to reveal his grand plan to re-open California schools.
The governor, whose own children have been going to in-person private school for months now, announced that his plan does not require the public schools to open, but is an “enticement” to open instead. Newsom says the plan was a “bottom-up not top-down” collaboration of state lawmakers and other “stakeholders.”
To put it simply, Newsom offers a bribe for districts that open quickly. Districts that don’t open quickly will get less for each day they’re closed, according to the The LA Times.
The plan relies on financial incentives to get more campuses to open in the spring. School districts in counties that meet the virus threshold and do not open by April 1 would lose 1% of their share of the $2 billion in reopening funds for each school day that distance learning is the only option that’s offered. Schools that are currently open or have plans to reopen before the end of March would be allowed to go forward with their respective reopening and still qualify for the funding.
In a news conference on Monday, Newsom pointed to billions of dollars coming to the state from the CARES Act passed by Congress. Newsom also expressed hope that California would get a chunk of the $1.9 trillion that includes special “blue state bailouts” to reward states responsible for the most onerous shutdowns and draconian regulations in response to COVID.
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) March 1, 2021
House Republicans released a pie chart showing that 91% of that “COVID” bail out money is not about COVID at all. It’s a Democrat dream list, including funding for Planned Parenthood, pet infrastructure projects, and minimum wage increases – the last thing struggling businesses need after the outrageous California shutdowns.
Check out this eye-opening graph from @GOPLeader that highlights just how little of the Dem’s so-called COVID relief bill will actually help combat the coronavirus. Over 90% of this bill goes towards enacting President Biden’s political priorities, not helping those in need now. pic.twitter.com/K0TGT5ZSpF
— Patrick McHenry (@PatrickMcHenry) March 1, 2021
Newsom’s “school plan” includes an immediate payout of $2 billion to kindergarten through second grade for re-openings by April 1. The full “enticement” plan is worth $4.6 billion to pay teachers to get back to the classroom at all age levels. Teachers want to be in line for vaccinations as well.
The LA Times reports that districts will use the money as they see fit, which likely means a handsome payoff to recalcitrant teachers’ union members who have mostly taught from home or occasionally in person.
The plan, sources said, provides financial incentives to school districts that offer in-person instruction in counties with fewer than 25 new daily confirmed coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents, a threshold almost all California counties currently meet as the winter’s rapid spread of the virus had slowed.
School districts seeking funds from counties in the state’s red tier, with seven or fewer cases per 100,000 residents, would be required to extend classroom learning to all elementary school students and at least one grade of middle or high school.
But the proposal, expected to receive a vote in both houses of the Legislature this week, stops short of mandating that schools across the state must reopen. Instead, it leaves the final decision up to local education officials and, in some areas, subject to agreements between districts and the unions representing school employees.
Teachers will continue to get paid whether they’re in the classroom or not.
Newsom could order teachers back to work but their union is the most powerful PAC in the state and is responsible for putting him in office.
Republican candidates for governor lined up to shoot down Newsom’s plan. Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said the “partial reopening plan … isn’t even close to good enough for our kids and teachers.”
My statement on Gavin Newsom’s press conference. pic.twitter.com/WZFeKZUfoB
— Kevin Faulconer (@Kevin_Faulconer) March 1, 2021
Kids are so far behind in school in the LA School District (LAUSD) that parents have begun a petition to fire the LA school superintendent and head of the teachers’ union for keeping the teachers out of the classroom.
NEW: In an email to members, UTLA tells Los Angeles teachers that if they vote to return to in-person schooling, it means they are “willing to work under unsafe conditions”. UTLA leadership is firmly opposing a physical return to school. Union voting begins in March 1st.
Parents have also started an online petition to call for the resignation of UTLA’s president. We’ve been reaching out to the union all day, no response, and they’ve blocked yours truly on Twitter. 🙃 pic.twitter.com/ehYMzL4kIG
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) February 26, 2021
Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox says the union’s moves mean more parents will bail out of the system.
— JohnHCox (@TheRealJohnHCox) February 26, 2021
Parents need to work and kids need to learn. Parents have begun putting their older kids in daycare in order to go back to work. Parents are protesting outside the teachers’ union offices over the closures. Parents have picketed and begged districts to re-open.
Maybe what parents need to do is picket for some of those billions in bailout money to pay for private schools that have found a way to have in-person learning for months now. Try Gavin Newsom’s kids’ private school. It’s open.