Sand: The looming school reopening nightmare

In about two months, many California school districts are schedule to open.  Within three months, all California schools are schedule to open.  Yet parents do not know if school will be full time, part time, staggered hours, all online “education” or what classes can be offered.  For instance, can they have football and basketball?  Who knows?  For parents to go back to work, they need to plan for child care.  In Ventura County numerous child care facilities have closed—and will not re-open.

“The Los Angeles County guidelines, also released last week, contain other restrictions, including one-way hallways, 16 kids maximum in a class, and a staggered school day which would include at-home learning, with students coming to school in shifts. To give the kiddos a break, they will each be given a ball which they can play with at recess…by themselves. Congregating on an athletic field is most definitely a no-no.

It’s worth noting that while the state and county have issued guidelines, it is up to the individual school district which, if any, to adopt. As such, the California Teachers Association is prepping for war. As Mike Antonucci notes, any school district modifications will only happen via collective bargaining with the local teachers union.

You read that right—the unions will have control of schools—yet the parents are not allowed a say.  Why is government education a failure—parents and bullied by unions and government.

The looming school reopening nightmare

By Larry Sand, California Policy Center,  6/2/20  

The tortured plan to open schools in the fall should convince parents to homeschool if at all possible. 

Kids who don’t like going to school in California – and there are plenty of them – are going to be absolutely miserable when schools reopen in 3 or so months. According to Governor Gavin Newsom’s just released general guidelines, students will be required to wear masks and have their temperatures taken upon entering the school, then sit in classrooms where desks will be spaced six feet apart. Lunch offers no respite, as kids will be forced to eat in the classroom. (Interestingly, no mention was made as to how to eat or drink with a mask covering one’s mouth.) More specific guidance will be released by the state shortly.

The Los Angeles County guidelines, also released last week, contain other restrictions, including one-way hallways, 16 kids maximum in a class, and a staggered school day which would include at-home learning, with students coming to school in shifts. To give the kiddos a break, they will each be given a ball which they can play with at recess…by themselves. Congregating on an athletic field is most definitely a no-no.

It’s worth noting that while the state and county have issued guidelines, it is up to the individual school district which, if any, to adopt. As such, the California Teachers Association is prepping for war. As Mike Antonucci notes, any school district modifications will only happen via collective bargaining with the local teachers union.

It would be best for all concerned to shun the guidelines. Can you imagine a group of squirrely kindergartners actually wearing masks for several hours, sitting meekly in a classroom six feet apart, day-in and day-out? A few may adapt, but for many it will be traumatic. In fact, it is abusive and totally unnecessary. According to CDC data, as of May 28th, there have been 11 deaths of 5-14 year-olds due to Covid-19. Light stuff compared the number of children who die in traffic deaths. In 2017, 675 children 12 years old and younger died in motor vehicle crashes, and nearly 116,000 were injured. Other than wearing a seat belt, there have been no proposed draconian guidelines to keep children safe.

Also, per the Wall Street Journal, “The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity projects that children under 15 are 6.83 to 20.07 times more likely to die of the flu or pneumonia than coronavirus—assuming 150,000 Covid-19 fatalities in the U.S. this year—and 128 times more likely to die of an accident.”

Additionally, between 2007 and 2017 the suicide rate for 10-14 year-olds nearly tripled, according to the CDC. Peter Gray, a research professor at Boston College, finds that suicides are related to the school calendar, especially for boys, who kill themselves 95 percent more during the school year than in the summer. Gray suggests that increased stress over school is the cause. With all the new mandates – masks, social distancing, no play – what little joy there was in institutional schooling will evaporate. As such, the suicide rate will most likely increase.

The good news is that many families have discovered the joy of spending more time together. Seagal Hagege, a mother of three in Irvine, said her kids, ages 8, 7 and 4, “have become better behaved, kinder to one another and more independent” since the quarantine began. She’s hardly an outlier. A Real Clear Opinion Research poll showed that 40 percent of families are more likely to homeschool or virtual school after experiencing the lockdown. Also, an EdChoice survey found that 52 percent of parents have a more favorable opinion of homeschooling since their child’s school was shuttered.

While homeschooling is probably the best scenario, if kids are to go to a public school, they should be able to do so with a minimum of restrictions. The prevalence of child-to-adult transmission is debatable, but either way, young and otherwise healthy teachers should have no fear. Older teachers and those with certain pulmonary conditions may need to go on leave, retire, or work with students digitally. What we need to do is constantly track data, and use a scalpel to tweak policy when necessary. The current sledgehammer method is harmful to all stakeholders. But then again, if the heavy-handed state and county mandates are convincing more parents to homeschool, maybe the education establishment should keep on pounding away.

Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. how in the world are we supposed to have our kids practice social distancing when there aren’t enough classrooms to split the classes? and the CDC say you can only have one student per seat in a school bus, AND every other row! so you take a 78 passenger bus and can only carry 14 kids! there aren’t enough buses and drivers to take them to school…. wake up people!

  2. Tracker 1 says

    Parents and students have had basically NO say in the student’s education for a long while in California. It goes back to the Democrats taking over the state government at least 16 years ago. We now have PARENTS and STUDENTS that have been educated to the standards of the Democratic party. They say the system is not educating the first or second generations immigrants to the same standard as the umpteenth generation of the whites. Is it possible for that to ever happen? NO, it takes at least three generations to make the transition. So, where are the blacks that have been here for six or more generations? You must answer that question – there are clear answers available if one faces reality.

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