On Friday, Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA), Ranking Member of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote a letter to President Joe Biden about the problematic issues resulting from Teachers Unions hijacking in-person learning and shutting down schools.
Scalise began the letter reminding the President that “On January 21, 2021, you issued Executive Order 14000 stating, ‘it is the policy of [my] Administration to provide support…for safe, in-person learning as quickly as possible.’
Then again, “On January 4, 2022, you stated, ‘[w]e know that our kids can be safe when in school…That’s why I believe schools should remain open. They have what they need.”
“On January 5, 2022, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki doubled down on your Administration’s commitment to maintain in-person learning stating, ‘we want schools to be open, the President wants them to be open and we’re going to continue to use every resource and work to ensure that’s the case.”
Despite Biden and his press secretary’s seeming commitment to the safety and educational wellbeing of children, Scalise notes the President is being stomped on by Teachers Unions. “Unfortunately, many Teachers Unions across the country disagree with you and are actively undermining in-person education. It is unclear if you are willing to stand by your statements, stand up to the Unions, and advocate for America’s children. We insist you do so.”
Scalise writes, “Teachers Unions have repeatedly jeopardized America’s children’s education and livelihoods throughout this pandemic. Even as teachers were prioritized for vaccines, many refused to return to in-person instruction. Even worse, classes for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) were abruptly cancelled on Wednesday January 5, 2022 after the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) voted to cancel in-person learning and refused to show up to work, despite no scientific basis for their decision.”
The letter continues with more proof:
Dr. Leana Wen, a professor of public health at George Washington University, said, ‘schools remain one of the safest places for children from a #covid19 transmission standpoint.’ Vaccines are widely available for anyone over five years of age who wants one and $190 billion was allocated to reopen schools safely. There is absolutely no reason for students to be forced to learn virtually.
Student learning loss due to remote or hybrid learning is astronomical—failing grades are rising and child suicide rates are surging. Among third through eighth graders, math and reading levels were all lower than normal this fall. The gaps were largest for Black and Hispanic students, and schools with high poverty rates. Children and teenagers are experiencing a mental health crisis of historic proportions—in fact, your own Surgeon General agrees and the American Academy of Pediatrics declared a national state of emergency in children’s mental health. Suicide attempts have risen sharply for adolescents with suicide attempts by 12 to 17 year old girls rising 51 percent from early 2019 to early 2021.These unnecessary disruptions from the CTU pose additional risks to children’s mental health, learning, and social relationships.
We agree that schools should remain open and with Press Secretary Psaki’s statement that we should “ensure that children are not enduring the mental health impact of not being in school, that there are not gaps in learning. This includes schools everywhere, including in Chicago.”
Talk is cheap unless it is backed up with strong, decisive action. It is imperative that you do everything in your power to ensure students are learning in-person so they can begin to make up all that they have lost throughout this pandemic. We stand ready to assist the Administration in any way we can to ensure our students can learn in-person.
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OH Judge halts Air Force from punishing airmen who sought religious exemption from vax mandate
A Judge of the Southern District of Ohio granted a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Air Force from punishing the servicemen and women who had filed for a religious exemption to the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate on Wednesday.
Judge Matthew W. McFarland, just two weeks before, ordered a restraining order against the Air Force from pursuing punitive measures against the airmen.
The case, Doster v. Kendall, McFarland wrote that the Air Force failed to raise any “persuasive arguments” for why the Court should not extend an existing Preliminary Injunction prohibiting the Air Force from punishing a group of plaintiffs to all airmen seeking religious exemption. He added:
[T]he Court reminds Defendants that ‘[i]t is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. Thus, due to the systematic nature of what the Court views as violations of Airmen’s constitutional rights to practice their religion as they please, the Court is well within its bounds to extend the existing preliminary injunction to all Class Members.
All active-duty, active reserve, reserve, national guard, inductees, and appointees of the United States Air Force and Space Force, including but not limited to Air Force Academy Cadets, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) Cadets, Members of the Air Force Reserve Command, and any Airman who has sworn or affirmed the United States Uniformed Services Oath of Office or Enlistment and is currently under command and could be deployed, who: (i) submitted a religious accommodation request to the Air Force from the Air Force COVID-19 vaccination requirement, where the request was submitted or was pending, from September 1, 2021 to the present; (ii) were confirmed as having had a sincerely held religious belief substantially burdened by the Air Force’s COVID19 vaccination requirement by or through Air Force Chaplains; and (iii) either had their requested accommodation denied or have not had action on that request.
In addition, the order said the Air Force, which includes their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and other people acting in concert or participation with them, who receive notice of this preliminary injunction, are PRELIMINARILY ENJOINED from:
(i) taking, furthering, or continuing any disciplinary or separation measures against the members of the Class for their refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, while keeping in place the current temporary exemption; such disciplinary or separation measures include, but are not limited to, ‘adverse administrative actions, non-judicial punishment, administrative demotions, administrative discharges, and courts-martial’ for the benefit of Defendants, this includes continuing any administrative separation or punitive processes or initiating the same.
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