Today’s blog is not about genealogy so you can stop reading now if that is your interest Instead, it is my take on the current state of the educational environment. I am writing this because I am furious. Our today becomes tomorrow’s history; I want the future to learn from the past.
I missed writing last week as I was consumed with my newly designated title of ESSENTIAL WORKER and due to the lack of communication, cooperation and consistency in government policy, was working 16.5 hour days with no compensation for the overtime or weekend work so that children can go back to school and die alongside their teachers. It makes my heart break.
My long time readers know I try very hard to not to be political in my weekly blog. I understand bureaucracy moves slowly. I respect free speech and differences in opinion. I have been an educator since 1977. I did not choose that career to get rich or for the summers off (we don’t get paid and we work most of the summer unpaid planning and taking training).
That said, I will not stand by silently when peoples’ lives are needlessly risked. Don’t believe it (like one of my neighbors who insists there is no reason to wear a mask), here’s the facts – a 6-year old girl died Monday of covid in the same school district that the person WITH NO BACKGROUND IN EDUCATION who is UNELECTED but APPOINTED by the governor and who, like those currently tweeting that the virus will magically go away, refused to allow the school district where this child died to deliver educational services for an additional 3 weeks online because “Step aside, folks, there is nothing to see here!” These bullies threatened to withhold all state funding if school does not resume with a brick and mortar, aka traditional, model by the end of August.
Due to the wavering decisions and the utter lack of concern for children, their families and the public school staff, I, along with my colleagues across the country, have worked tirelessly to try to make the smallest classes possible for social distancing and to quickly trace students from period to period WHEN THE VIRUS ATTACKS. This is not an IF, this is most definitely a WILL.
For those that don’t believe that, here’s the truth…in my small school that opened to teachers only 3 weeks ago, we have already had 1 teacher with a covid diagnosis in the second week. At my previous school, in the same time period, with about the same number of staff, they’ve had two. My husband’s school has had two since April, one in the last two weeks. If you have this many infections with educated adults all wearing masks and social distancing, using hand sanitizer and washing their hands well, you don’t think you’re going to have a problem when the students return?! Think of yourself as a kid. Instead of playing cooties the elementary kids will be playing covid. Middle schoolers can not stay out of each others faces and forget social distancing with high school and college – they are huggers! The children are doing developmentally what is normal but these times are not. If we can’t save them from themselves their is blood on all of our hands.
I am outraged at the system that allowed this to happen I also question how a teacher became an essential worker in the last week. If that’s the case, why do we close schools for weather problems?
Just come out and tell us how many in power view our role – you want cheap childcare and if you lose a few, well, that’s life! You never cared about educating children before; if you had, you would have funded us adequately so the little darlings didn’t have to go door to door selling overpriced junk. My husband and I wouldn’t have had to spend our own money for years on items our students needed. If the value of education was really a priority there would be no threats to withhold funding. I am so sick of the lies.
If I read one more article or hear one more news story about teachers being happy to return to school this fall I’m going to scream. NO THEY AREN’T. Like the rest of humanity, they long for the good ole days, last seen this past February, when they could make a difference face-to-face with their students. Those days are gone for now and what is needed more than anything else is prioritizing life over what once was.
If everyone had done what was the right thing to do we wouldn’t be faced with this problem today. Children wouldn’t be dying. Those kids that return to school and live through this will not have to have the burden for the remainder of their lives of knowing they brought home an illness that killed their family. They won’t have to face the grief at the loss of their beloved teacher. This madness can be halted and I’m praying someone, somewhere has the power and the sense to do the right thing.
I’m also sick of hearing about students falling educationally behind. Here’s a quick and simple solution for that – just have everyone attend year round once the virus is behind us. Cut out the electives for the summer term and just teach the basics. Duh! If we can have students skip a grade then the whole issue of learning loss is a moot point anyway. Studies have shown that students who do not start school until age 8 can compete academically in a short time. Funny how our leaders, and I use that term loosely, pointed to Nordic countries who kept schools open last spring as what we should do. Those are the same countries with well funded educational systems that don’t have young children in formal education. They have physicians and dentists available for the children. Heck, I can’t even get Walmart to donate free eyeglasses to my needy kids anymore. So again, I ask, if education is so vital, then why are the basics not provided for our children?
No electronics in the home? Seriously, except for the last two generations NO ONE WAS EDUCATED BY USING THE INTERNET. Here’s a novel solution – have local districts pay the local newspaper for a subscription for every family. The lessons can be incorporated in the newspaper. It’s delivered daily to the family’s door. You’re developing a generation who will learn more about their community and the world. They are practicing reading and math by analyzing the charts and graphs. Vocabulary is enriched. You’re insuring that the press remains a vital and important partner in the community. Why are we not doing this? As much money as schools saved on paper and ink they can certainly afford to purchase a year newspaper subscription for their students. Actually, in my community, the newspaper is already free electronically for our students. If schools wanted to save even more money, they would just need to purchase a paper edition for those that don’t have electronics.
I am fortunate to be able to be eLearning but several of my fellow teachers were not granted the same privilege I was, even though several has serious medical conditions and two are still recovering from covid’s long lasting side effects.
If you have taken the time to read this I want to thank you. Send good thoughts or pray or whatever you believe in because my colleagues, my students, their families and the greater community needs all the help it can get.