Opening Schools, Childcare and the Great Divide

Well I am certainly glad that I no longer have school aged children.  My grandson is only 3 and his mom is able to work from home so we don’t have to fret the idea of school re-opening here in the middle of August.

Of course there is no guidance from the Great Leader.  You really didn’t expect any did you?  He doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your kids and I’m sure Melania will see to it that Baron doesn’t face any of the risks your kids might face.

That’s the way it is with rich folks.  They can have a tutor come to the house.  They will have half a dozen computers and all the WIFI  data they need for on-line learning.  And they don’t have to worry about work – or day care while they trudge to their slave wage jobs.

After the Sandy Hook massacre Barack Obama probably made the greatest speech of his presidency.  He talked about what it’s like to be a parent, and the critical realization, experienced by most parents, that you can’t keep your children safe or teach them well without the help of your friends and neighbors. Then he expanded that idea to include the whole of society. He said, “This is our first task—caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.”

We have not gotten anything right when it comes to caring for our children. We were not getting things right before the coronavirus pandemic; we did not get things right at the outset of the crisis; and as we hurtle towards the Fall, we are on the verge of getting things dangerously, irreparably wrong again.

The rush to re-open schools is on as is the great debate as to how to do it.  And because we have failed to bring the epidemic under control in most of the country, we don’t have many good options.  And as usual the burden falls most heavily on those who are not “professionals,” who cannot work from home and have no one to care for their children if they return to work.

In this country public schools are day care for the lower classes.

 Yet if we send them to school, they might get sick or might get others, including mom or grandma sick. If we keep them home, we won’t be able to go to work and we might stunt their educational growth. If we do a “blended learning” approach and send them to school some days but keep them home other days, our children might get sick and they might be stunted. Besides, there aren’t many parents who can hold down a full-time job that they show up for only two-and-a-half days a week.

“It didn’t have to be this way. If we had successfully done the work of stopping the spread of the virus, as has been done in other countries, we wouldn’t have to pick which poison to expose our kids to. If we had committed to testing so as to track the spread of the virus, instead of not testing so as to manage Donald Trump’s asinine fear that testing causes cases, we might know which school districts could safely reopen. If we had leaders who cared about the health of our people nearly as much as they care about the health of their stock portfolios, we would be able to protect teachers instead of asking them to risk their lives.”

Instead, our leaders view children as nothing more than tiny impediments to efficient wage slavery. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar put it most bluntly: “Parents have to get back to the factory. They’ve got to get back to the job site. They have to get back to the office. And part of that is their kids, knowing their kids are taken care of.”

Meanwhile Dyed Blond Don criticized the CDC guidelines for re-opening schools as “too expensive.”  Would you let your kids take candy from anyone in this administration?  These guys have led us to the world record of 140,000 deaths and counting and they want to advise you on how to keep your kid safe.

Since everyone is on their own, including here in Florida where the Governor’s children are too young for school (but of course he would send them anyway!), good  people on the ground are trying to figure out how to open schools safely for the children and not kill a couple of thousand teachers at the same time.

Problem is the school system as well as the  childcare system was broken before the pandemic and the virus has simply made the broken system more visible.

The first problem is that our child care system and school system are the same system, and that means that working families have no access to reliable, affordable child care without in-person schooling. “In the Covid-19 Economy, You Can Have a Kid or a Job. You Can’t Have Both,” blared a recent New York Times headline, highlighting the problem every working parent has faced since the onset of the pandemic.

“Unequal access to home computing—the digital divide—deepens the problem and renders remote learning a disaster for many families. A family with only one device that can connect to the Internet is put under immense stress while parents are trying to work from home and a child (or multiple children) must Zoom in to school. And I don’t even know how the millions of families who have no devices and no reliable Internet service are getting by.”

Meanwhile local school districts don’t have the money to make the necessary .modifications required for minimum safety.  And they don’t know where its coming from.  Masks.  Social distancing.  Partitions. Cleaning.  Temperature checks.  Lunches.

Districts have announced various re-opening dates (late August, early September around here)  and are giving parents a choice.  Sent your kid to school.  Keep your kid at home with on-line instruction or send the tike part time, splitting instruction between home and the school building.

Will they close the entire school building again for a couple of weeks  if a kid or a teacher gets sick?  Who knows.  No leadership from on high; just local schoolboards trying to get by.

“Privilege speaks to the shocking inequality in our society and school system. Fortunate people will opt out of this madness until there is a vaccine. They’ll print out workbooks, take virtual-reality trips to the zoo, and wait until everybody stops dying before letting their kids out of a cocoon of safety.

Less-privileged people will have to suffer the full consequences of living in the only advanced nation that can’t be bothered to stop the spread of the virus. Other countries are in a position to reopen schools and businesses because they did the right thing with lockdowns and didn’t turn public health into a culture war. Our country, led as it is by a ruling party that has spent three decades acting like “science” was a liberal hoax, is only in a position to court death.”

Meanwhile the “get back to work” push is on.  The enhanced federal unemployment payments of $600 a week are due to expire shortly and most Republicans don’t want to see the program renewed.  Turns out lots of those furloughed folks were making more money staying home than they made at their slave wage jobs.  Jobs which qualified them for food stamps and put them on bread lines regularly.   Nope.  Back to work.  Capitalism calls.

There has been a moratorium on eviction notices and foreclosures.  That too will soon come to an end.  Without either additional direct money or an extension of the moratorium the housing market faces millions of evictions out onto the streets.  Just another way to get the shiftless back to work.

Reopening schools in this environment will have predictable results: The children of poor and working-class folks will be more exposed to the disease, because those families will have no choice but to risk their health in order to work. Those children will, in turn, infect their parents and the teachers who work in lower-income communities, and any long-term health risks from Covid-19 will be borne more heavily by those who grew up with more economic challenges. Eventually, clusters of teachers will turn up dead, and schools will “re-close” just as many bars and restaurants are doing now.

It would be nice if we could skip over the dead teachers phase, but Trump and his education secretary, Betsy DeVos, have evidently decided that getting people killed is the best way for him to win reelection.  After all, she is the sister of Erik Prince, the guy who founded Blackwater.

About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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7 Responses to Opening Schools, Childcare and the Great Divide

  1. jfwknifton says:

    “Quos Deus vult perdere prius dementat”, as one British politician once said and got into deep, deep trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. beetleypete says:

    They have ordered all schools to reopen as normal here in September, after the summer holiday break. When many parents said they will not send their kids back until the environment for them is safe, they are told that they will face heavy fines for keeping the kids at home. It seems Boris is taking his lead from Trump in most things, not just chlorinated chicken.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dolphinwrite says:

    Though I taught for over two decades, deciding to partially retire until real education and excellence, should that ever happen, becomes the goal of schools, I saw that the closures provided an opportunity for the youth to get outside the propaganda, rhetoric, and misinformation that has pervaded so many of our institutions. In this way, the youth would have time to realize they can probably do better on their own and parents can provide quality, even if it’s not where they would like it to be. But quality is always better than propaganda. And if the parents teach a few good things, their children will be better off than disinformation. **Yes, I would like schools opened up, but I would prefer parental choice. In that way, parents can decide what is best for their children and schools would have to compete to attract students. In fact, teachers would have to work harder to provide quality lessons and projects, but also get rid of any propaganda. As such, this online schooling thing opens the door for parents to know what goes on in these classes, but of course, any radical teachers have to hold back because they know they’re being watched. Sad it is this way. When I was growing up, America was number one in the world, and though their was some propaganda, it was very small and not pressed. To keep America the best nation in the world, it requires the parents to lead their family, taking full responsibility for their children, until schools respect our country, our flag, and our history.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. toritto says:

    You mention propaganda several times in your post as if falsehoods are being taught regularly in our schools.

    How about some examples from your years of teaching?
    Three would suffice.


    • dolphinwrite says:

      That parents shouldn’t have choice regarding where they send their children, including vouchers so schools have to be competitive to keep their students. One will be enough. I’ll let you discover the others, all which are available on the web. Now. It’s your turn to research and find what you should already have discovered. I knew this while growing up.


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