Covid School Policies are Child Abuse
Everyone seems to agree on one point. The Covid school policies keeping kids out of the classroom have a Draconian impact on the individual students as well as the general education of young Americans.
We have heard a lot about the downsides of the shutdown in terms of students. They are suffering emotional issues by being confined to the home – unable to play with classmates. In some cases, kids are being exposed to cruelty at the hands of abusive parents. It is resulting in a rise in depression among the youngest and most vulnerable Americans – and a spike in teenage suicide.
The Covid school policies are causing students to lose out on career-affecting extracurricular actives – especially in sports. Academic achievement is declining. Offsite learning is drastically inferior to in-class learning for innumerable reasons.
The Covid school policies and shutting down classrooms has hit the minority communities the hardest – especially in the impoverished segregated communities in America’s major cities.
And yet … the children are the least vulnerable to contracting Covid-19 – and unlikely to have a serious case if they do. And the death rate among the student-age population is almost incalculable. On top of that, many studies have shown that the classroom can be a much safer environment than staying at home all day.
Even as the Pandemic is ebbing, however, there is still a lot of resistance … a lot of confusion … and a lot of disinformation regarding the schools. One of the main reasons for that is the education industry lobby. It has two major unions – the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA). These are among the most politically powerful unions in all of organized labor.
Unlike most other unions, the AFT and the NEA have enormous power at the local level. Their massive campaign contributions and control of the rich and powerful pension funds keep local politicians doing their bidding.
So, why wouldn’t the teachers’ unions want the kids back in school. There are two basic reasons. Their members do not want to go back into the classroom despite the scientific evidence that shows little risk. To put it bluntly, it is easier to stay home and get paid. Remote teaching is not as demanding as being in the classroom.
More importantly, it is all that extra money – the Covid-19 money. The unions have all sorts of programs that solicit government funding – and the Pandemic creates even more opportunities. They also are lobbying for more money for teachers to do their basic job. In the military, they call it “hazard pay.” That does not make a lot of sense if the hazard is not significant. So, they fearmonger.
With the parents and the scientists saying the kids should be in school and the school unions saying “no,” the politicians – including the President of the United States – side with the unions.
To placate the parents, the politicians play games. President Biden recently announced that on his watch the schools are back in business. Now maybe you assume that means the kids are back in the classroom. Not so. The classrooms may be partially filled, but in many cases, most of the students are still at home in front of computers.
Biden’s words are also empty because the bulk of the decision-making regarding when and how schools open rests with governors and mayors. That is why – in general – schools in Republican states are open – and have been for some time. In Democrat states and cities – where unions have their greatest hold over the political class – the schools are not opening as fast or as much.
We have had two problems with the Pandemic. The first is the issue of how much we shut down – or should have shut down – at the onset. But that is water under the bridge. The current issue is how soon and how much we can return to normal. That debate is still going on – and in terms of the schools the fearmongers are winning. The kids are still losing. And that will not change until every kid is in a classroom.
So, there ‘tis.