Online education only a supplement
Re: “Close brick-and-mortar schools” by Cornelius Flaherty of Fountain.
You don’t have multiple elementary school age kids at home, do you? You didn’t home school multiple kids for the past two months, did you?
If you did, you would know that most kids did not attend a full school day online. You do not know how much less the kids learned at home while online for a couple of hours a day than they would have learned at brick-and-mortar schools for a full day.
Most parents do not have a teaching degree nor have they been trained to teach children nor are they equipped with adequate knowledge of the many subjects that an elementary school teacher must teach.
What about the arts, music (band or orchestra or chorus)? What about leadership skills (student council)? What about physical education and sports? What about second languages? These are important programs for the full development of children. They are not going to get these online. And many families do not have the financial resources to provide these programs outside a brick-and-mortar school.
What about special needs students? Or learning impaired students? They need special teachers.
Sorry, online education can be a good supplemental tool, but it is not the end-all panacea you think it is.
Don’t throw away the ‘bathtub’
In response to the occasional letters and pieces regarding closing school buildings long term as a financial decision, I cannot stress enough how strongly I disagree with these positions. For the past six years, I have loved teaching the students of our community at my middle school. We have a chance each day to help students learn to think for themselves, consider multiple perspectives on issues, and find meaningful ways to connect classroom learning to their lives.
This experience with COVID-19 has truly highlighted something I long suspected: students that are successful in the “brick-and-mortar” school can also succeed at home, but not all students. I hear from the high-achieving students almost daily, the students that struggle in class are nowhere to be found.
Unfortunately, many students and families are not heard from. I can see the look a student has when I greet them with a fist bump and make that personal connection at the start of the class. The webcam is a poor substitute. I have long supported school choice and families making the best choice for their child’s academic, social, emotional, and religious needs. However, closing school buildings down as a permanent economic solution will take a large part of that choice away.
The answer is not to throw the “baby out with the bathwater.” Neither is the answer to throw the “bathtub” out of the window. Schools are what families and staff make them, and together we can make them greater.
Politicians still receive a paycheck
It must be nice to have a political position where you know the cash will flow for you no matter how long you refuse to “allow” others the same luxury. Does the power make you feel good as hard-working citizens and their employees watch the opportunity to recover from this shutdown diminish each day?
Showing them who is boss I suppose is important. Because those areas that have opened do not reflect significant ramifications as so many predicted. So what is the problem? Why are these politicians allowed to receive a paycheck while their bad decisions cost others their income, their dignity and their sanity? Yet Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot are allowed to dominate the market.
Maybe the victims of power-hungry politicians should just invest in those businesses as their stock values are soaring. Oh, that’s right. They do not have money to invest in those markets. They invested their entire lives, their hard work, and most, if not all, of their financial assets in their business! I never thought I would see this day in this country.
Think about it. Also think about which leaders in this country seek to soak up the power when given the chance. The majority have a common connection.
Level of response is unsustainable
Is this our future? Is this the way that we deal with future health crises in America? When did scientists urging moderation get less (or no) press and acceptance than those that jumped right to “panic.” In 2018, we lost over 80,000 Americans to influenza ... and that was with a vaccine in hand. We didn’t see Dr. Anthony Fauci going on a media tour. Microscopic images of the virus weren’t blown up to the size of beach balls by news agencies for maximum effect. Our government leaders weren’t shutting down the economy compounding the misery for millions of our citizens.
I see comments by our leaders and those expressing their opinions on this page referring to the “experts,” The same experts that based their recommendations on worst-case scenarios (which they readily admit were highly unlikely) that 2 million Americans could die, hospitals would be overrun. Sadly this habit of overprediction has led our nation to a level of anxiety and paranoia that may become the staple of our country’s future pandemic response. We cling to life so desperately that we callously ignore the suffering of millions caused by the actions of our doing … and not of the virus that we are trying to contain.
The use of face masks is not a panacea. It is not supported scientifically and was not supported by the CDC or the surgeon general until the panic reached a fever pitch in April of this year. Masks were widely used in the 1918 pandemic, and we still lost over half a million Americans. Even with a vaccine, COVID-19 will continue to mutate and we could be facing this same situation next year. This level of response is unsustainable for America, healthwise and economically.