Get you some learning

There seems to be a lot of news coverage of what to do about school, and a prevailing sentiment that parents and students hate virtual learning. This is being used as a reason to reopen schools. Strange to think someone’s dislike of something should be a reason to endanger lives. And as far as that goes, are we sure most parents and students dislike virtual learning. There have been very few surveys on the subject, they have come just recently after have to switch to virtual last minute because of a pandemic, and they actually only ask parents to respond. We really don’t know what the students think.

Of course some parents hate it. It forces them to be involved, to care, to put out some effort, to do what they should have been doing all along, to do what many of them have not been doing for a very long time. As far as the students go, the general consensus from students, now and from every past generation, is they don’t like school at all, in person or not. So of course they don’t like virtual school, it gives them the same responsibilities they didn’t like to start with, and removes the social aspect, they can’t divide into their little clicks to be antisocial with other clicks to get the satisfaction of feeling superior. None of this has any relevance to whether we should reopen schools or not.

School administrators are now panicking because for some reason they believed that in the short two months of summer, the pandemic would just go away. They have done nothing to prepare, they have not reviewed the results of the last semester, and have not tried to improve on what was done. Which if anyone was to bother to check, went much better than administrators and politicians would have you believe. The biggest problems were in lower income areas, where kids did not have access to computers and high speed internet. Both of which are issues that have been brought up long before and nothing has been done about.

In these modern times where almost everything is done online, high speed internet should already be treated like a utility. Everyone should have ease of access to high speed internet as they do to water and electricity. And as far as children not having access to computers, high income districts often assign laptops to students. So we have an antique argument that is still valid, the schools whose students need the most help get the least. I’m not going to go into the politics of this, they don’t matter, it has always been wrong to deprive a child a chance at a decent education for any reason.

But back to the idea of reopening schools. Just this summer three Arizona teachers took a chance to teach summer art classes in person. They followed social distancing and cleaning protocols, wore masks, and did everything they reasonably could to protect themselves and the children. All of them still caught Covid-19 and one of them died. This is the world we live in. If you force the schools to open, people will die. Virtual learning may not be popular, but it works, the military has been successfully using self paced computer learning since the 1970s. It seems that the administrators of our schools systems, here in the 21st century, could figure out how to make it work until we have a vaccine, without whining like children.

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