Teachers unions love closing schools. Despite the near-universal acknowledgment that lengthy Covid-era school closures exacerbated learning loss, accelerated chronic absenteeism, and contributed to alarming discipline issues, teachers unions continue to shut students out of school through prolonged strikes.

Already this fall, four National Education Association (NEA) affiliates have stopped working and closed schools: 

  • The Portland Association of Teachers launched a strike two weeks ago, keeping over 40,000 students out of school for nine days so far. A recent Oregonian editorial called for an end to the strike: “Students need to return to classes now. We are breaking the habit of going to school and devaluing the importance of education.”
  • The Youngstown Education Association went on a 27-day strike for the first month of school, likely worsening students’ already abysmal achievement scores and causing students to disengage further from school. Youngstown students were failing to learn before the lengthy strike:
    • 59% of Youngstown students were chronically absent during the 2022-23 school year.
    • 81% of 4th graders were not meeting English Language Arts (ELA) standards and 88% of 6th graders were not proficient in math in 2023.
  • Students in two Washington school districts missed the first week of school. The Camas Education Association held a strike for six days, closing schools for 7,000 students. The Evergreen Education Association kept 22,000 students out of school for seven days.

When teachers unions strike and refuse to work, students get hurt. Studies show that chronic absenteeism has a direct negative effect on achievement scores and graduation rates, yet unions across the country are causing students to miss weeks of school. To learn more about teachers unions, read Portland Teachers Union Puts Students Last AgainBiden Sacrificed Children’s Learning To Appease Teachers UnionsChicago Teachers’ Union Head: Education Freedom For Me But Not For Thee, and Students Going Back To School Shouldering The Weight Of Pandemic Learning Loss.

For more information about teachers unions and school choice, visit www.iwf.org/issues/education/