In August, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat and one of the most strident proponents of strict social curbs to combat the coronavirus occupying an elected office in America today, decreed that all K-12 teachers in her state would have to be vaccinated by the fall. Autumn is now here, and the Beaver State is said to be facing a crippling shortage of substitute teachers. To stave off disaster, Oregon education officials are lowering their standards, waiving the requirement that substitute teachers possess a college degree.
As with the Southwest Airlines mass-flight cancellation fiasco, it is extraordinary to watch big-box media outlets attempt to completely ignore the thought that instantly pops into most Americans’ heads: that mandatory vaccines and substitute teacher shortages may go hand in hand.
Two questions can be posed: Is the substitute shortage in and of itself due to the mandate, and is the effort to quickly boost the number of substitutes a way of preparing for the loss of regular teachers who refuse to get the jab?
Dancing Around the Obvious
The Oregonian reported on Oct. 11:
“Portland Public Schools, the state’s largest district, typically has an active substitute pool of 800, but is now down to 528 — severely short of what officials say is needed. In neighboring Beaverton, the number dropped from 900 to 685, and in Hillsboro schools, district officials reported 147 active licensed substitutes, more than 300 fewer than at the start of 2019….
While a multitude of reasons exist for the substitute decline, the pandemic made it worse, according to Sharon Reese, Portland Public Schools’ chief human resource’s officer. She believes some people may have decided against taking the position or renewing their licenses at the start of the school year out of hesitancy for their health and safety while COVID-19 cases surged.”
Would you care to elaborate, Ms. Reese? But, of course, neither she nor the paper, the largest daily in the state by far, does. The vaccine mandates are simply not brought up as an explanation for the crisis.
Back in August, Gov. Brown was fiercely defiant. “COVID-19 poses a threat to our kids, and our kids need to be protected and they need to be in school,” she declared at the time. “That’s why I’m willing to take the heat for this decision.”
It sounded good then. But now that on-the-ground reality is setting in, harsh edicts from the statehouse aren’t going to replace the teachers being dismissed.
A local TV station brought up what The Oregonian was so careful not to broach.
“In response to both a decline in substitute teachers and the state deadline for teachers to get a coronavirus vaccine, Oregon lowered the requirements to become a sub,” reporter Dan McCarthy of KATU-TV in Portland tweeted on Oct. 12. “The new standard? Be 18 or older [and] pass a background check.”
In other words, any warm body without a criminal record will do.
So much for those sanctified words of Attorney General Merrick Garland, deifying teachers as heroic “public servants” who “dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education” and thus should not have to endure facing criticism from uppity parents.
“We will still have safe, trustworthy adults in the schools. They still have to go through a background check. We also have really rigorous check-ins. We have people walking past your child’s classroom all day long,” Maggie Kelly, communications director with the Estacada School District, told KTVL-TV in Medford.
Force Façade Crumbling?
Combine these developments with the Southwest Airlines chaos, in which hundreds of flights were canceled allegedly due to a “sickout” by outraged employees, and it appears the vaccine mandate machinery operators may have overplayed their hands.
Cracks in the dam are appearing everywhere. Health care is an especially sensitive area.
In Quebec, one of the most virulent Canadian provinces in terms of strict social curbs to combat the coronavirus, a deadline for all health workers to get the jab has been reluctantly extended due to the devastating consequences due to take effect from it. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports:
“After weeks of insisting Quebec would go ahead and impose a vaccination mandate for health-care workers and suspend those who don’t comply without pay, the province’s health minister, Christian Dubé, has backtracked and is now giving them an extra month to get adequately vaccinated.
Health-care workers now have until Nov. 15 to get the necessary shots. The original deadline was [Oct. 15]….
[Dubé] said the decision to push back the vaccination deadline for health-care workers was ‘difficult,’ but one that was necessary to avoid ‘hitting a wall’ when it came to providing health-care services to Quebecers.
‘I have the responsibility to protect the health-care network of Quebecers,’ Dubé said during a news conference on [Oct. 13]. ‘The risk right now is too high, and it would be irresponsible to roll the dice with the health of Quebecers.’”
And just like that, absolutism becomes less absolute.
Despite their over-inflated sense of self-worth, replacing Oregon’s public school teachers may not prove such a daunting task. Teachers’ editions of those fourth grade-level textbooks do have the answers in them, after all. But you can’t just pull anybody in off the streets to replace doctors and nurses, can you?
Unfortunately, too many Americans may personally find out the answer to that loaded question if the overreaching architects of mandatory jabs refuse to pull in their horns.
~ Read more from Joe Schaeffer.