Why Keeping Schools Closed This Fall Would Destroy Public Education

For years government schools have shown poor results—low test scores, graduates with “earn credits” just so they have credits for a worthless diploma.  Distance learning seemed to be mediocre at best—with many students not signing on and those that did not seem involved.  Now with schools looking to “open”. Parents are getting nervous.  In Oak Park school district (Ventura County) the kids will go to school two days a week.  How do parents plan to work on that schedule?  Oh, there will be distance learning as well.

If that is not bad enough, the school districts are planning to emotional scare the children who do show up in a classroom.  The kids will be informed Johnnie or Janie could kill them.  They will be wearing masks, washing hands numerous times each day.  They must bring their own lunch to school—how does that work in LAUSD where 80% of the students get free breakfast and lunch?

I believe a lot of student will “ghost” the system, not even show up or sign on.  The good news is that parents are now becoming aware of the failings of the government school run by monopolistic unions—that hate cops, hence hate protecting their children while on campus.  This could be a transformative time for education—away from being a social/political activity and back towards education.

Why Keeping Schools Closed This Fall Would Destroy Public Education

This spring’s systemic leadership failure has already significantly eroded support for public schooling. Extending it will reduce public and parental support even further.

By Joy Pullmann, The Federalist,  6/24/20 

As the coronavirus panic dissipates, alarmists are pushing for public schools to remain closed this fall, or to reopen in completely unworkable configurations that, not accidentally, would require a lot more taxpayer expense during a self-induced employment and tax revenue crisis. But they should think twice about this strategy, because if enacted it would destroy the education monopoly unions and numerous Democrat politicians depend on for money and votes.

I’m fine with that, but most politicians won’t be. Since they care about remaining in power more than just about anything else, they should think about it good and hard.

Establishment voices are claiming schools cannot open this fall, or not without huge extra expenditures on everything from sanitation to hiring additional teachers to slash class sizes. Of course, they ignore that public schools have increased non-teaching employees by seven times as much as student enrollment since 1950. They insist they cannot address this situation by better management of plentiful existing funds.

Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, for example, just suggested taxpayers should cough up another “$50 to $75 billion to properly equip the 100,000 public schools” and colleges, after Congress already passed multiple trillions in pork-laden deficit spending for coronavirus and every single public program is now in danger. Yet if public schools just matched their staff increases to student enrollment growth, they could find an additional $35 billion every year with existing funds, according to one study.

In addition, many parents are unsure about sending their kids back to schools for a replay of this spring’s chaos. Online learning did not exactly cover itself in glory during school shutdowns. Parents saw how much learning their children had to sacrifice, and how much their children disliked it.

“In Broward County Public Schools in Florida, the district had been building its technology program for several years and many teachers were already managing classwork online, so things have gone more smoothly,” reported the Wall Street Journal, in one example. “Nevertheless, a survey of Broward students in grades 6 through 12 found that 52% don’t feel motivated to complete distance-learning assignments. About 45% said they almost never receive adult help at home to complete assignments.”

Due to the spring school shutdowns, says the superintendent of Miami-Dade public schools in Florida, “The nation should be bracing itself for the biggest ever, precedent-setting, historic academic regression.” What parent or taxpayer is going to maintain support for paying salaries for teachers who are not providing reliable instruction to their kids, or for spending boosts to institutions that are clearly failing to make that happen?

On top of this, for fall some school districts are proposing chaotic schedules like two days on, two days off, and one day of remote learning per week. Others may require children with teachers who are at-risk due to age or pre-existing health conditions to continue substandard online instruction. Some are considering things like isolation rooms for kids who show up with sniffles, and requiring children to spend recess inside hula hoops or chalked boxes on the pavement. Others might cut instruction while expanding daycare.

With ridiculous ideas like these on offer, many parents are likely to reconsider public schooling altogether if it means masking their six-year-olds, no physical interaction ever, indoor recesses every day, and continued craptastic online “learning” that created havoc for working parents and devastated their children’s academic progress. Already, several polls have showed a significant detachment from public schooling due to families’ negative experiences during the coronavirus panic.

“An EdChoice public opinion poll suggests that more than half of parents with school-age kids have a more favorable view of homeschooling after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. An unofficial Reason Foundation Facebook poll conducted by Corey DeAngelis suggests that about 15 percent of children could be making the switch to homeschooling in the fall. A May 14, 2020 Real Clear Opinion poll of more than 2,000 registered voters found that as many as 41 percent of parents are more likely to homeschool this fall,” noted Michael Donnelly in The Federalist last month.

Once this exodus starts, it will be hard to stop. Parents have for years told pollsters that private education is their top choice, not public education. They haven’t left yet because it hasn’t gotten bad enough. Long-term coronavirus schooling is easily a tipping point towards “bad enough to finally leave.”It will likely create a cascade effect of long-term parental divestment from public schooling.

Keeping schools closed this fall is thus likely to lead to an exodus from public education, especially among the higher-performing children of married parents who are better able to oversee online instruction or homeschool. This would be another disaster for public schools atop the man-made disaster of poor crisis readiness. The children of married parents make public schools look better than they are because their richer home structure fills in for their own schooling gaps and hides the worse outcomes among children from broken homes.

Married parents, especially mothers, are also known as the most influential group in education politics. Alienating them by shutting down schools again this fall, or making that schooling oppressive to families like it was this spring, would be self-sabotage.

Parents are also very aware that their children are in worse danger from car accidents or the flu than from catching coronavirus. Data from our now-extended experience with the Wuhan flu shows that, for the average person not residing in a nursing home, the risk of death from COVID is lower than the risk of dying in car accidents or contracting the seasonal flu. So if we were using the same risk calculation for shuttering schools due to traffic, they would have never been opened, this fall or any fall.

Government officials are making all this worse by largely failing to provide any consistent, sensible, or clear direction about how they will oversee taxpayers’ $700 billion education spend this school year. “The vast majority of American school districts have yet to announce when they will resume in-person instruction,” the Associated Press reported Tuesday. People hate uncertainty. Leaders who perpetuate it lose the trust of their constituents.

This clear and systemic failure of leadership has already significantly eroded support for public schooling. Extending it will reduce public and parental support for public schools even further. Instead of spending more to offer an even worse education to children this fall, lawmakers really should be giving parents control over their education situations and public financing for it through education savings accounts. That would be a proactive and foresighted response to the inevitable long-term results of this year’s education leadership catastrophe.

At a bare minimum, however, public officials must make sure schools open on time, within budget, and without frustrating CYA rules of dubious health value (masks that kids will finger frequently are probably worse than no masks at all, for example). Alexander did get one thing right: “The surest step back toward normalcy in our country is when 70-75 million college and high school and elementary school students go back to school. They need to go back. Their parents need for them to go back, and the economy needs for them to go back.”

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. Really??? says

    This is not direct to the article.

    A radical Councilwoman in Santa Barbara stated since the kids are not in school they are out riding bikes in the streets. She stated this is the “new Normal” and the reason to blocks streets and take on others 50% of capacity for bike lanes.

    Think about the logic here. Remove the street capacity is needed for the parents of the kids to get to and from work and in some instances needed for work description.

    This is the same illogical logic that runs the schools. Schools where homosexual education is feed to elementary kids. The same people who will tell you it was aggression to wage war against Japan with the Atomic Bomb to save both Japanese and American lives.

    The only good thing is private schools have prospered with the stupidity of the Political Left.

  2. William Hicks says

    NOT AS LONG AS THERE’S A TEACHERS UNION. They will demand funding for teachers regardless of if there’s a single student in a classroom (real or online).

    This too will be reason for federal funding because of the virus emergency.

    • My son’s high school made an effort to have the students learn with lessons via email and homework; EXCEPT for the lazy, good-for-nothing Spanish teacher (he was known for being the laziest/worst teacher in the school before the virus hit). Not a word from him. He gladly took the three months off with pay. And oh yes, he’s tenured, so he is untouchable. No bueno!

  3. Rottweiler says

    Finally a way to break free of the awful common core curriculum, anti-American history being taught, and virtually no education through the public system. Yeah, a chance to find your own curriculum which works best for your child. Imagine reading the classics again? It is called homeschooling and we did it and so can you. They told us, the teachers, as we left catholic school, we would make a hillbilly out of our child, talk about racist. We weren’t “qualified” but I found resources, a cool group of other kids in the homeschooling academy where they make certain you are on course. We kept our own records available to the state if needed and we did all and more than the things they do in PS. Field trip Fridays, beach days, camping days and three-four days a week study. You know what we had that PS didn’t have? No Bullying, I-Phones, I-Pads and I-Pods. We had books, cursive, field trips, a caring support of parents who watch out for all. My daughter took the early exit for college at 12 yrs and passed. If we could do it so could you and there are so many more resources plus the colleges recruit from homeschooling groups. It would be a great way to escape the institutionalized system and make way for a healthier child, less anxiety and more creativity with the ability to reason and solve life’s problems. Torrance is a great place to start, plenty of groups and a wonderful experience. Tools for the Home Educator great resource.

  4. Shane Conway says

    Let’s be honest. The public education system as we know it today is a farce. Most teachers I have met are some of the dumbest and least informed people I have ever met. The world they occupy is far different from reality.
    Today’s schools are telling kids as young as 4 years old that they don’t have to be boys or girls. They are being groomed and indoctrinated by the homosexual community. They are taught to mistrust their parents and to hate the police officers who are there to protect them. They are being brainwashed into believing that America is evil.
    Everyday the children are missing school is a day they are not exposed to left-wing propaganda and radical indoctrination. Some of the smartest people I have ever met were some of the least educated. So-called education is not really necessary to hold down a good job. Those businesses who insist on hiring college-educated workers are only perpetuating a failed system. I obtained a college degree without trying. It was easy. Consequently, my degree means nothing to me. I tossed the diploma in a drawer over 30 years ago and haven’t looked at it since.
    Being a productive member of society and raising a family are the most important things we all should strive for.

  5. Knowledge Is Power.

    That is why your children are being dumbed down. The left knows that.

    Let’s not substitute one problem for another.

    Not every parent can home school, that is for sure.

    We do need to tear down the old and build a new American style old school system for our children.

    We should also not forget that we have millions of young Americans who should be made to take courses to be re-educated and debriefed!!

    This is serious. The left Marxists are stealing our children and America’s future. It may already be too late.

    What has Betsy DeVoss Done as Education Secretary? I am still trying to figure out what the hell she does every day.

  6. Paint Brush says

    The schooling situation is stressful for parents, but, in the long run, the less contact children have with the left wing, culture destroying, family structure destroying, union dictated educational system, the better for them. At least at home, parents can instill the morals and principles in their children that are honest, not political. My oldest grandson, home schooled, graduated a year earlier from high school, and was taking two college classes along with his last year high school curriculum. Most students coming out of our high schools can barely do basic math. Both my older grandsons attained Eagle status in Boy Scouts and the third one well on the way toward his. When parents are behind their kid’s education, they excel. Parents need to attend the boring monthly school board meetings to know what is going on and to put a stop to some of the nonsense programs like Common Core and the porno riddled health education program.

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