Last week, we editorialized about how grateful we are for teachers and school support staff. We understand, we said, how the state of the world is scary and uncharted territory with no historical precedent on how to approach education in a pandemic. We were grateful for the guidance so far from Gov. Mike DeWine and acknowledged that there are no easy answers on how to approach education in the middle of a worsening pandemic.
Yes. Worsening, thanks to the complete lack of federal guidance and, indeed, the downright criminal denial from the occupant of the White House against all statistics and physical evidence. He denies growing statistics (News flash: Saying it will go away doesn’t work, unless you are Tinkerbelle. Which he is not.) President Trump has placed the economy above the lives of U.S. citizens. And judging from a plethora of recent polls, 67% of the American public agrees with us.
As hard as it is to believe, things got worse last week. Trump wants to open all schools without any thought of the danger it poses to children, teachers, support staff and their families. Criminal. Just. Criminal. The so-called secretary of education (she doesn’t deserve the title or the power) also said, basically, “Go forth and die. We need to open schools.”
OK, we paraphrase a bit. But face it. We are speaking the truth.
The truly idiotic and dangerous governor of Florida (yes, with its huge susceptible population) declared that if Walmart and Home Depot can be open, schools can be open. “We spent months saying that there were certain things that were essential, and that included fast-food restaurants, it included Walmart, it included Home Depot,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference in Jacksonville with U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. “But if all that is essential, then educating our kids is absolutely essential. ... If you can do these things, we absolutely can do the schools.”
Right. Home Depot is just like a school. Just put the classroom in a room in the back, say, right next to the lawn mowers. Stupid analogy. Stupid man. Bad policy.
If you are reading this now and think we are being harsh, guess what. We are. Because this isn’t politics. Lives are at risk. Even if you don’t believe the experts at WHO, the CDC, The Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Yale Medical School, and the entirety of Europe, New Zealand and Australia … are you willing to take chances to be proven right? What happened to protecting your children? What about your grandchildren? Are you so selfish and determined to be right that you are willing to risk their lives?
Thank goodness the federal government cannot force states or cities to open schools with NO virtual options.
Put on your face mask and go elbow bump your local superintendent in gratitude. Those leaders face a monumental, thankless task in the next few weeks: how to educate children without putting them at risk. And they are doing it without any intelligent federal leadership or guidance (unless it will help someone get re-elected). As usual.