Only a handful of weeks ago, Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) President Rich Askey, in a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf and state Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera, said it is “extremely important for Pennsylvania’s public schools to plan for the distinct possibility that further increases in Covid-19 cases will make it impossible to safely reopen Pennsylvania’s schools for in-person instruction.”

Interestingly, just north of our Commonwealth, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Aug. 7 that school districts in his state will be allowed to reopen.

Of all places, if New York City can handle reopening with the high infection rates it has had, then there’s absolutely no reason why other large cities such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Allentown couldn’t do so, too.

What role are children playing in the spread of this Covid-19 virus? Five months into the pandemic, the rest of us would still like to know. Unfortunately, our leaders and experts can’t tell us.

People are not meant to live in constant fear. It creates mass hysteria, which we are witnessing today. With a survival rate of 97 to 99 percent for Covid-19 victims nationwide, it’s insanity that our state and nation continue on this path of forced shut-downs and shut-ins.

Unfortunately, politics has now seeped into everyday life for hardworking Pennsylvanians. Now, the leaders of teacher unions around the country are calling for Medicare-for-all, defunding the police, and other dystopian mandates before they will even come to the table to negotiate their members coming back to work.

Where are the thoughtful considerations for the hardworking men and women of this state? It’s amazing they can’t get minimum relief during these uncertain times.

Since March, organizations like the Freedom Foundation – and many others – have called on Gov. Tom Wolf to issue a moratorium on union dues deductions from public employee paychecks so they can keep more of their own money in their pockets and return millions of dollars to the private sector, too.

It’s amazing that during this pandemic, Pennsylvania State Education Association has spent $536,000 on campaign contributions, of which 94 percent went to Democrat candidates and the Democrat Party.

At Freedom Foundation, we received nothing in response from the Pennsylvania State Capitol. And a property tax relief bill in Harrisburg was gutted and shut down by the all-powerful PSEA that said a property tax freeze would “force cuts on vital programs at a time when districts are facing revenue shortfalls.”

It always comes down to money and politics. But at the same time, it’s amazing that during this pandemic, PSEA has spent $536,000 on campaign contributions, of which 94 percent went to Democrat candidates and the Democrat Party. Wolf, our tyrant governor, is also the de facto head of the PA Democrat Party.

Why, then, are the union bosses spending hundreds of thousands of their members’ dues dollars on political contributions during a pandemic and to a party that seems to want people to not question their authority and remain compliant of their rules and mandates? This is not to mention mask-shaming people.

Close friends of mine – who raised their children in Pennsylvania and are very active members of their community – told me that they’re moving their family out of the state because of the nonsense and double standards. Unfortunately, this is the new reality facing many Pennsylvania families.

People in our state and across our country don’t want to be locked in their houses. The whole point of a democracy is that we have choices. Lots of choices.

We don’t live in an autocracy. It’s disheartening for hardworking Pennsylvanians to make decisions with their employers about working remotely, working fewer hours, or quitting their jobs altogether to make sure their children can continue their education all because the teachers’ unions say they can’t (or won’t) go back to work.

But they, of course, still want taxpayer-funded dues flowing into their slush funds to decide which politicians they can control.

Many people have asked me why we pay school property taxes to fund public education when we’re getting nothing in return. The answer is simple — politics.

At Freedom Foundation, we always choose freedom and individual liberty. Many teachers are upset about this entire ordeal and the impact the coronavirus has had on their homes, their hard-earned money and their work life.

Once again, the teachers unions have set themselves against students — and parents, children, and teachers alike are being shortchanged.

Hunter Tower is the Pennsylvania Director of the Freedom Foundation, a non-profit that assists public employees in leaving their unions. He is the previous executive director of the Republican Committee of Lancaster County and as a field director with the Republican Party of Pennsylvania. @TowerForPA

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