Back To School Or Else

Feb 18, 2021

In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss the politics of getting kids back in the classroom during a pandemic. Scott DiMauro, president of the Ohio Education Association, joins the show.

Listen to Snollygoster on the WOSU Public Media mobile app, on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. And make sure to leave a rating and review!

In this week's episode: 

Dunce Cap

Last week, Gov. Mike DeWine called an emergency news conference at 6 p.m. on a Friday to complain that some school districts were not living up to their promises to get students back in the classroom, in exchange for moving teachers and other staff up in the priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The governor called out Cleveland and Akron and one high school in Cincinnati, threatening to make teachers wait their turn for vaccines if school districts did not restore in-person learning by March 1. This week, he added Columbus City Schools – which is only bringing back grades K-5 at the moment – to the list.

Democrats, school officials and teachers unions immediately pushed back on DeWine's threat. Democratic leaders at the Statehouse say the governor is to blame for mismanaging COVID vaccine distribution. 

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control issued new guidelines on how to safely resume in-person instruction, and Ohio Department of Education research shows attendance and performance are suffering because of the pandemic.  

Snollygoster Of The Week: Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott

Texas has been hit hard by this polar vortex, and many in the state have lost power. What exactly happened will be determined in the weeks to come, but of course some can't resist making it political.

Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott told a Dallas TV station that frozen natural gas pipes and pumps were the primary cause of the electricity shutoffs. Later that day, he told Fox News and Sean Hannity that wind turbines were the main cause of the outages, taking a swipe at the Green New Deal.

The governor has since corrected himself and admitted it was problems with natural gas lines that were the main problem.

Send questions and comments to snollygoster@wosu.org.