‘The View’ puts up all-out defense of Chicago teachers refusing to return to in-person instruction

The liberal hosts of ABC’s daytime gabfest “The View” on Thursday put up an all-out defense of the Chicago teachers refusing to return to in-person classroom instruction this week, declaring their support despite the known damaging effects remote schooling has had on children. 

During a segment focused on the now two-days of Chicago public schools closings after Chicago Teachers Union members voted against returning to the classroom, co-hosts Sunny Hostin, Yvette Nicole Brown, Joy Behar and Ana Navarro all agreed with the teachers’ concerns over safety in school amid the rapid rise in coronavirus cases around the country, but appeared to cast aside the challenges to working families and children’s ability to learn while in a remote setting.

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“Our teachers are underpaid, they’re overworked, they have a right to be safe in their work environment,” Hostin said, claiming there was a lack of testing capabilities in Chicago to ensure the safety of teachers. “A thousand kids have died from COVID. My understanding is that at least 7.8 million children have caught COVID since the pandemic started. Thousands of children have been orphaned because of COVID.” 

“The notion that, you know, teachers should just suck it up and go to work, I think it’s ridiculous,” she added. “Yes, I totally understand that remote learning is very difficult for our children … What if our teachers get sick and then bring it home to someone that they’re living with, their parents perhaps … I think they’re doing the right thing.”

“The View’s” Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin discuss school closures – January 6, 2022 (Screenshot/ABC)
(The View/ABC Screengrab )

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Hostin’s claim on the lack of testing availability directly conflicted with Chicago public health commissioner Allison Arwady’s statement in a Wednesday interview on CNN that coronavirus testing was available in every Chicago public school this week. 

Behar chimed in and defended remote learning by claiming her grandson was “OK with it.” Appearing confused over the debate, she then said she didn’t understand why there couldn’t be an option put in place for kids and parents to choose whether to do remote or in-person learning. 

“I’m 100% pro-teacher. I feel that if there’s anyone that knows best what is needed in a classroom, it’s a teacher. They’re understaffed, it’s unsafe, they’re under-tested, there’s no tests at home,” Brown said.

“This is a Petri dish they’re being told to walk into every day, and to say that you’re going to dock the pay of people that are already coming out of their own pocket to bring things into classrooms for the students makes me livid. I am literally holding my mule right now I want to scream so hard. So I think that the mayor’s wrong,” she added, referencing Lightfoot’s criticism of the teachers union and declaration that teachers who didn’t return to work on Friday wouldn’t be paid.

Lori Lightfoot speaks during a Jan. 4 press conference (Facebook/ Chicago Public Schools)

Lori Lightfoot speaks during a Jan. 4 press conference (Facebook/ Chicago Public Schools)
(Facebook/ Chicago Public Schools)

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Navarro added that the situation should be made less political by having education experts and school superintendents make the decisions rather than the mayor. She added that each school should be addressing the issue on their own rather than as a blanket policy, but that teachers should also be able to decide what they do based on their own individual situations.

Last year, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Children’s Hospital Association, declared a “national emergency” or “crisis” in child and adolescent mental health in the U.S., citing the pandemic and remote learning as a significant factor in the crisis’ development. 

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy delivers remarks during a news conference with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki at the White House in Washington, July 15, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy delivers remarks during a news conference with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki at the White House in Washington, July 15, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner
(REUTERS/Tom Brenner)

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According to a September USA Today and Ipsos poll, a majority of parents believed that remote learning caused their children to fall behind in school. Many parents have said their children struggle to keep up with remote learning, with some deciding to have theirs repeat a grade.

Fox News’ Ann W. Schmidt and Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.

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