Trump’s Classroom Conundrum
I could open today’s post with a wise crack about the commander in chief not knowing the meaning of the word, “conundrum,” but I won’t. We are at a fork in the road with two possible routes, and both are challenging.
Our kids have been out of school for more than five months. Some districts and families created robust, online programs to keep the students up to speed, but no one would argue that non-teacher interactions are better than real schools. Most children would also agree because they want to see their friends and learn. Yes, once a kid gets into the discovery mode they want more.
In my recent book, Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs – A Collection of Essays on America, I included two chapters that focused on education in America, 165 Doors and Charter Vs. Public. Public schools are both taxpayer-funded and managed by an array of political people and structures, which can keep a good district down. While teachers’ unions and bargaining agents were created to get teachers better deals, some believe their draconian rule making interferes with community budget planning and any contraction attempts. Our future has always depended on education of the next generation and no one wants to go backwards.
I can’t imagine many mothers and fathers returning to work without the publicly funded babysitter program. Sorry, but that is what some people call it. However, I am sure we all can agree that getting our offspring back to school will make America better. The person who inflicts the most damage to American schools is not Donald Trump. It’s his Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, who is a totally unqualified Republican donor promoting a 21st century segregation scheme under the cloak of “vouchers” and “school choice.” By funding religious and private schools with public money, DeVos is helping to disenfranchise those who cannot afford private education. It’s a policy that divides people from their very first day of school.
Unfortunately, people are focusing on the kids, assuming school administrators and teachers can remain safe at work. Sure, one can scrub down those facilities, but will the schools do this five times a day? Unlikely. The theory that children can deal with the virus better than adults may be the biggest flaw in a rush to get back to school. If a school infection breaks out and a student dies from COVID-19, it it will reflect very poorly on Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos. Of course, Trump will simply blame or fire DeVos for anything bad that happens.
The burden of school districts to clean the structures and test their teachers will demand more money from the federal government and state leaders. Keeping kids safe and smart is paramount. Because the President of the United States has diabolically made the global pandemic personal and political, we will never know what could have been if we had taken careful and scientific steps. We tend to go overboard in protecting our children, and the rush to open schools violates the thoughts and feelings of most parents. Some don’t even let their kids be vaccinated, so why would those same PTA members want to take such a risk? No parent wants their child to be the lab rat in a government experiment.
Most school districts take their guidance and funding of safety measures from their state, not the federal government. Yes, all schools get money from the national budget, but most school boards believe Washington doesn’t know how to run their schools. The President dictates that schools open on his command, but only teachers and administrators understand the stark implications. School districts are currently calling on their administrators to craft a plan, while teachers are seeking a strong strategy to stay safe. Teachers unions are asking important questions that I am sure have never been considered by the village idiots, Donald and Betsy. And of course, the states to open first have the highest percentages of positivity rates.
The most frustrating thing about the coronavirus is the lack of proven and reliable information. One day we are told it spreads six feet, then we are told it doesn’t stay on surfaces, then we are told it that it does stay on surfaces, for hours, then we are told that small droplets can stay in the air for a long time and infect more. Could our indoor social distancing guidelines not be based on exact science? Our slow uptake on mask wearing means we have lost an advantage in this fight. We are playing catch-up ball.
I want to ask Donald Trump why he is pressuring schools to open after saying that decision is up to the state governors? He’s been rebuked for not issuing a national order of mask-wearing and was told directly that he doesn’t have the power to make governors do his bidding. He might want to ask the local leaders what they think is best and stop being a bully.
The misinformation and lies by our President have made the pandemic worse. He forced his sycophant governors to open early, and they are paying the price. The skyrocketing number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Texas, Georgia, Florida and Arizona show the power of this virus and the biggest reason NOT TO OPEN SCHOOLS until we are certain it is safe to do so.
The large orange ostrich with his head in the ground needs a good swift kick in his fat ass so he can pull his head out of his partisan hole. The conundrum of reopening schools should not be a global endeavor. Each school and district are unique. Private schools, even with some sense of immunity from prosecution, will shutter their businesses rather than going through a wrongful death lawsuit, and that places the public schools directly in the crosshairs of this virus. What a terrible way to run a country.
Trump has now tweeted that those states ignoring his arbitrary demand to open their schools will lose federal funding. The Department of Education in every state should be happy they are being treated the same way Trump treats Ukraine. It’s a big, fat quid-pro-quo! Trump’s deal is simple, “You make me look good, and you get the money.” What a horrible President!
During Wednesday’s presser Dr. Robert Redfield didn’t answer the question whether he would change the latest guidelines because Trump didn’t like them. Then a minute later, the large white puppet Pence said the CDC will be revising and publishing a new guideline next week. What a dodge.
The big news out of the COVID Task Force press conference was that there has been very little, if any, testing of kids under 10 years of age. They admit they don’t know the dangers, especially with those with pre-existing conditions. This is another failure of leadership that could be a catastrophe for our kids.
The book that tells it like it is…
Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conservation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”