Late Tuesday night the Chicago teachers' union voted to cancel all in-person classes for all public schools. This decision left parents to scramble to find babysitters and other accommodations for their children during the school day. Wednesday night’s edition of NBC Nightly News decided to take the side of the teachers’ union, suggesting kids could die otherwise.
While all three network newscasts covered the vote, NBC’s coverage was the most favorable toward the corrupt Chicago teachers' union. Lester Holt introduced the segment then handed it off for his correspondent Stephanie Gosk to give her report.
As is common with these news packages, there were multiple soundbites of various people who were interviewed for the story. The first such video was of an unidentified Chicago parent who expressed his displeasure with the teachers' union’s decision:
We had all winter break to have this planned out, and here we are. Kids are kinda caught in the middle and parents like myself are really scrambling to get coverage.
The rest of the segment was a one-sided puff piece for the unions, save for a brief clip of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot who blasted the decision, and shared her concern for how this will negatively affect parents:
We can't forget about how disruptive that remote process is to individual parents who have to work.
After Gosk got that out of the way, it was propaganda time. The leftist NBC News correspondent aired Chicago public school teacher Keyonna Payton’s gripe about not feeling safe to go back to work. Payton whined that she has “a 90-year-old grandmother with underlying health conditions and issues.” She continued her whining: “And so I would just appreciate being able to work in an environment where at least the students are all PCR tested weekly.”
Gosk, in an apparent attempt to justify the vote reported “Omicron is straining school systems to their limits. Rapid tests are hard to find. PCR results are delayed.”
She then aired a video of NBC medical contributor Dr. Kavita Patel, also taking the side of the teachers' unions:
If you do not have adequate testing, you cannot keep a school open safely unless you accept the risks that potentially as high as half of your students could be positive and not know they are.
Patel, in an attempt to fearmonger, suggested kids could die if they went to school. “Keeping the schools open at all costs means that you are not acknowledging that all costs involves lives,” she claimed despite the fact Omicron was a very mild variant.
Over on CBS Evening News, where the coverage was slightly more balanced, the network reported that Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot “canceled all classes but threw parents a lifeline. She kept school doors open so children had a place to get their meals and stay if needed.”
CBS also aired a statement Lightfoot gave after the teachers union’s vote which demonstrated how devastating canceling in-person learning is for public school children:
When our district was fully remote, our children suffered. There's no disputing that reality. We saw triple the amount of failures in elementary school testing and learning, triple. And that fell almost disproportionately on black and brown and poor kids across our district.
If the Chicago teachers union truly cared about the lives of children, they would stop panicking over a virus that's been shown to have little to no effect on them, and worry about what will happen to these children when they’re forced to spend the school day out on the dangerous streets of Chicago. Which scenario do you see as more dangerous to these kids?
This segment of NBC News carrying water for the teachers’ unions was brought to you by Prevagen and Swiffer (Proctor & Gamble). Their information is linked so you can let them know about the biased news they fund.
To read the relevant transcript of this segment click “expand”:
NBC Nightly News
LESTER HOLT: All of this causing severe disruptions in the nation's schools. A domino effect on teachers, students, and parents as omicron spreads and testing falls short. Stephanie Gosk has late details.
STEPHANIE GOSK (NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT): Late last night, Chicago school doors abruptly slammed shut, upending the lives of hundreds of thousands of Chicago families.
PARENT: We had all winter break to have this planned out, and here we are. Kids are kinda caught in the middle and parents like myself are really scrambling to get coverage.
GOSK: Concerned about soaring COVID cases and limited testing, Chicago's teacher's union voted to go remote.
KEYONNA PAYTON (CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER): I have a 90-year-old grandmother with underlying health conditions and issues. And so I would just appreciate being able to work in an environment where at least the students are all PCR tested weekly.
GOSK: But city officials called the union's decision a work stoppage and canceled school altogether, a clearly frustrated Mayor speaking out.
MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT: We can't forget about how disruptive that remote process is to individual parents who have to work.
GOSK: Late today word of a plan being worked on to go remote next week and be back in person by the 18th. This first week of school after the holiday has seen a dramatic jump in school disruptions nationwide. More than 4,500. Back in October, there were 28. Still small compared to a year ago. But Omicron is straining school systems to their limits. Rapid tests are hard to find. PCR results are delayed.
DR. KAVITA PATEL: If you do not have adequate testing, you cannot keep a school open safely unless you accept the risks that potentially as high as half of your students could be positive and not know they are.
GOSK: Most school-age children can get the vaccine. But just over half of 12 to 17-year-olds are fully vaccinated. That drops to less than 16% for 5 to 11-year-olds. Teachers and staff are out sick in record numbers. Over a thousand in Boston, where today the superintendent jumped into action, teaching a fourth-grade class herself.
BRENDA CASSELLIUS (BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT): Just excited to be here today to represent all of the incredible all hands on deck approach that we're taking here.
GOSK: Unlike at the start of the pandemic, there is a much more concerted effort to keep children in classrooms.
GOSK: There are some people right now who believe keep the schools open at all costs. Is that really tenable?
PATEL: No. Keeping the schools open at all costs means that you are not acknowledging that all costs involves lives.
GOSK: For school districts just holding it together, the outlook for January is bleak. Experts say case numbers will likely keep going up for weeks. Lester?