Friday, May 22, 2020

Public Education On The Edge Of Collapse - by Deanna Fisher

The shutdown of schools across America, both public and private, has thrown the lives of parents into an upside-down struggle. And now, in the name of safety, the Centers for Disease Control are nearly guaranteeing the destruction of public schools in the United States.

They don’t mean to, of course. After all, public schools are the government-run and government-approved schools. But right now, every single parent across America is homeschooling. We are all getting a look at the shortcomings of curriculum, bureaucracy, and the people involved. While some teachers have risen to the occasion and tried their absolute hardest to attend to the educational and mental well-being of their students, there are some teachers who are just mailing it in. And there are kids and families that are mailing it in as well. The situation, as it stands right now, is not a sustainable one.
States and school districts, now that most have been shut down for the remainder of this school year, are frantically trying to assess how the next school year will look in an age of “social distancing” and mask wearing. And then the CDC just released guidelines on school reopening.
CDC has new info to help camps, youth sports, K12 schools & higher ed, and restaurants & bars operate during #COVID19. These materials emphasize the importance of working w/ local health officials to make decisions & help prevent spread of COVID-19.
— CDC (@CDCgov) May 20, 2020

After reading the guidelines and suggestions, I have to ask: has ANYONE at the CDC ever MET a child??? These guidelines – which are apparently being tossed to the states by the CDC as they say “so long, and thanks for all the fish!” – are designed to make school a socially-distanced nightmare. Just look at these examples of the “guidelines.”
Modified Layouts
– Space seating/desks at least 6 feet apart when feasible.
– Turn desks to face in the same direction (rather than facing each other), or have students sit on only one side of tables, spaced apart.
– Create distance between children on school buses (g., seat children one child per row, skip rows) when possible.
Physical Barriers and Guides
– Install physical barriers, such as sneeze guards and partitions, particularly in areas where it is difficult for individuals to remain at least 6 feet apart (e.g., reception desks).
– Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signs on walls, to ensure that staff and children remain at least 6 feet apart in lines and at other times (e.g. guides for creating “one way routes” in hallways).
Recess at the elementary level now sounds like it will consist of everyone marching in a circle, masks on, six feet apart, and no touching the playground equipment or talking to friends or… PLAYING.

The CDC probably broke out in hives watching the above video because people are marching too close together.
Despite all the science that says children are particularly resilient against COVID-19 (while the ability of children to pass on the virus is in dispute), and the CDC’s own updated guidelines about the “half-life” of the virus on surfaces (it’s apparently unlikely to get you sick, so we can stop wiping down our Amazon boxes), districts are in an absolute mess. Some, like Washington D.C., are looking at only opening up for a couple of days a week, and still keeping students (many who don’t have online access or involved parents) at home other days – with the ever-present threat that anything that is planned for in the fall could be instantly shut down if a “second wave” comes.
With so much instability in the offing, on top of the burdensome CDC requirements, is it any wonder that the frustration of parents is growing? Some are just going to opt to homeschool next fall to avoid the chaos and to take greater control of their child’s education. Others are going to go to the next level – if they can afford it.
Seeing this kind of stuff in local groups since the release of the CDC guidelines:
— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) May 21, 2020

At the rate the districts and the CDC are going, the only kids left in public school will be the kids whose parents can’t afford to get them a private tutor/governess, the kids whose parents are not involved to begin with, the kids whose parents need the public school for childcare/meal purposes, and special education kids. And if you think teachers’ unions were down on homeschooling before, wait until public school enrollment drops nationwide and districts start losing real money over decreased enrollment. The best part? The unions will have no one to blame but their local government. The longer the school shutdown continues, the more parents are going to make other plans. Public education in the United States may have been unintentionally killed by government.
While many may rejoice in that, there are some very hard negatives that come along with that consequence – usually in the form of the most vulnerable being left behind. There are very real problems in public education, and I am a definite advocate of homeschooling. But more importantly, I am an advocate of parental choice. If I choose to send my child to a public school, I want to make sure they get a quality education (after all, my tax dollars are paying for it). What public education looks like after this pandemic is anyone’s guess. But if school districts and teachers’ unions begin to serve the best interests of children in their desire to keep enrollment up, all because parents feel better equipped to become their child’s teacher at a moment’s notice, so much the better.