The failure of political imagination: political suicide, because I dunno...

So, let's see, Donald Trump is threatening to withhold funding for schools if they don't reopen in September. Why? Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti explore:

That's right, folks. Trump's move, opposed by a majority of Republicans even, is part of Betsy DeVos' campaign to privatize the public schools. It's political suicide. But do they care? No. It's ideology.

Which reveals how the failure of political imagination works. In the midst of the compound crisis, we may be able to avoid political suicide, we may be able to avoid suicide as a nation, as a species, as part of a complex ecosystem, through the exercise of some sort of creativity that is within us, including (and I emphasize this here) our political creativity. Will we do this? Part of the answer depends upon the strength which ideologies hold upon our brains. To the extent that we are guided in our actions by some unimaginative adherence to ideological standards, the answer will be "no."

Krystal Ball thinks, as per the video, that these people succeed because they persist, even though right now this move is political suicide. That may have been true in the past, but I don't think it will be true this time around. This time around people will look at them and think of the death toll caused by their actions, the people in their lives who will not be around because of the decisions they made. The DeVos Faithful are not coming back.

Part of me wonders if anyone has actually sat Donald Trump down and told him that he's pursuing a path of political suicide. Like anyone in a position to do this would be scared away from sitting Trump down and giving him "the talk" because Trump would fire them after "the talk" when it's plain that there's no future with the guy anyway. And my question goes for all of these people who have hitched their careers to the political success of a Republican who has, through his choices, managed to make Texas into a swing state and, indeed, one in which he is doing poorly. Do they know they are committing political suicide as well? "Well, when you ask us, we'll give you all the standard platitudes about career success and so on. But here and now we're choosing political suicide, because I dunno..."

As a result of the Trump decision, we can imagine a lot of conflicted teachers who will go back to work anyway because (name your excuse). Many of them will go the way of the principals who met to discuss reopening who were infected, at that meeting, with COVID-19. Eventually, though, they will all come around to the idea that there are more imaginative ways of living in the world than teacherly suicide because I dunno... and then, and only then, there will be revolt, at least from those teachers who are still left standing. It will be massive, and nationwide. Already a couple of districts in California have decided to go all-online. Could an awakening to higher meaning be too far behind?

One of the things we can see most prominently in the collective American mishandling of the coronavirus is the damage the virus and its response have done to the capitalist system. For decades, now, the US government "management" of capitalism has been to hand the rich enormous piles of money and to tell everyone else to f*ck off. This approach, applied repetitively and unimaginatively, did not cause wholesale economic failure before 2020 because the compound crisis had not reached the proportions it has now. Even the downturn of 2008-2009 had a recovery, albeit a slow one. But the past is over, and handing the rich enormous piles of money this year, through the CARES Act, has been a disaster.

And unimaginative nostalgia for the past is not going to make things any better. Nonetheless, we can expect large portions of America to continue to pine for those glory days of yesteryear when the economy was robust and they could make a living. At some point, we can hope, the human imagination will kick in, and people will start to ask: "could we perhaps survive with something better than capitalism?" Until such time as we actually ask such a question, we'll be lost.

One of the interesting things about Stanley Milgram's (1974) book Obedience to Authority was that he suggested that there was a twelve-step process that one had to go through in one's head before one could feel comfortable actively disobeying authorities. Hopefully by now we've all gone through some of those steps already.

Share
up
24 users have voted.

Comments

Lookout's picture

it is easy for me to suggest solutions, but honestly I'm glad I'm not facing a classroom of kids in a few weeks. Lots of schools are going digital, and most are offering a digital option. But what about poor kids that don't have internet nor a computer...plus kids need social interaction? It is a difficult situation with mostly fools in charge.

One thing I would recommend is an abundance of outdoor learning, but I doubt schools are considering that option. Another thing we don't know is how effective are kids as vectors. Will holding school spread COVID to grandparents and parents? Seems likely to me. It is a mess. No clear strategy presents itself to me.

up
14 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@Lookout @Lookout

Another thing we don't know is how effective are kids as vectors. Will holding school spread COVID to grandparents and parents? Seems likely to me. It is a mess. No clear strategy presents itself to me.

The vast majority of students and parents are under the Mendoza line (50+) for significant risk of complications from COVID. So even if kids give it to their parents, the amount of damage done is statistically limited.

The grandparent are of course another story, but doesn't it make more sense to simply quarantine them from the kids, than quarantine everybody from everybody else?

Or to put it another way, I'd rather have kids using Zoom to talk their grandparents than their teachers.

up
4 users have voted.

The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

@Not Henry Kissinger
Why do people alway just talk about the kids? It's infuriating because the kids aren't alone in the school. There are teachers, nurses, custodians, social workers, paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers, and bus drivers, many of whom ARE over 50 or are pregnant or have other compromising factors. Are they just sacrifices to Mammon?
Even if the kids don't routinely get sick some will, with complications. My class rosters had five or more with some chronic illness on it in each class, mostly asthma. Look at the summer camps who have had to close or schools in Israel.
No one in their right mind believes that there will be enough soap, hand sanitizer, or cleaning agents to keep kids and staff safe. Some places might get through a month or so, but this stuff won't last long. That's if they can even get enough to begin the year.
And how about buildings with poor ventilation and no windows? Or districts that won't make kids wear masks?
Kids need socialization. How do they get that from a desk six feet away? By shouting? How about the anxiety kids will have if they get a teacher ill? Or take it home? Or give it to a friend who becomes one of those kids who become really sick? How about the anxiety that nothing is like last year? Or the anxiety kids will have being under pressure to keep a mask on? Or the anxiety induced by constant reminders to sanitize? (And that's BEFORE we discuss the time it will take to perform all of that, as if there was enough time in the day to begin with.)
People claim kids need a "normal schedule." NOTHING about the new school year will be normal. No shared toys, books, lab equipment, sports equipment. No group work (unless it's online, then does it matter if they're in the same room?). No partner work. No lunch with friends in other classes. No recess with friends in other classes. Probably not music class, since singing spreads the virus or art class with its shared supplies.
Going back to school in the fall is all a part of the fantasy that things will return to normal when they're not going to any time soon, if they ever do.

up
16 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@Teiresias70

Joe poste an article on schools reopening in the evening blues that come at this from another direction. Companies want their workers back at work and that can’t happen if they don’t have anywhere to put their kids. It won’t matter to them how many people die or just get sick and have life altering health issues because there will be plenty of people needing a job. To the elite we are just 'capital stock' to be used and discarded.

up
10 users have voted.

"It is remarkable that a sitting president would express less than complete confidence in the American democracy’s electoral process."

Hillary: "I'd be president today if Comey, Bernie, Bros and Putin hadn't stolen it from me."

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@Teiresias70

There are teachers, nurses, custodians, social workers, paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers, and bus drivers, many of whom ARE over 50 or are pregnant or have other compromising factors. Are they just sacrifices to Mammon?

So over 50 million students sacrifice yet another semester of their schooling? What about all the parents who can't afford daycare? In the middle of a depression? I could go on, but seems to me all we're doing is demanding sacrifices from those least at risk all so those most at risk can be given a false sense of security.

And how many more semesters do you expect these young people (both students and teachers) to sacrifice their educational, social, and profession development, and what is the long term trade off of an entire generation of students losing all that time?

Besides, those you are most concerned about are already not working, what additional sacrifice is it for them to continue not to work if they choose?

Sorry, but the myopic view that fully prioritizes the interests of one particular at-risk cohort over the interests and risks of every other cohort makes no sense to me.

The kids don't get sick. Young teachers don't get sick. What is the point here? To protect seniority?

up
3 users have voted.

The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

@Not Henry Kissinger and it also sounds like you are not very close to your grandparents. Keeping grandkids from their grandparents is not a very good option and for some it isn't an option at all since many are also babysitters full time and part time. Also it would include parents ( my kids ) since they live together. Say goodbye to the family unit.

up
7 users have voted.
Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@pro left

it also sounds like you are not very close to your grandparents.

are long dead and I remember them fondly, thank you very much.* But they're not really much use to me all these years later, whereas I still rely on my education every single day.

Keeping grandkids from their grandparents is not a very good option and for some it isn't an option at all since many are also babysitters full time and part time. Also it would include parents ( my kids ) since they live together. Say goodbye to the family unit.

If the kids are at school they don't need a babysitter. And as far as the family unit is concerned, tell that to all the single parents out there with no help as it is trying to raise kids who can't even go to school.

[*Wow, what an absolutely shitty thing to say about somebody you don't even know.]

up
3 users have voted.

The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

gulfgal98's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger if more people including children are getting the virus, then it is going to continue to spread. You can tell grandparents and great grandparents to quarantine themselves, but the virus will still spread as long as people are being exposed to it.

Tell that to the people of Florida that are experiencing record high new cases over the last two weeks, including one day this past weekend when over 15,000 new cases were reported. To open schools right now would be insane.

In a recent Axios/Ipsos poll, over 70% of American parents polled recently are against opening schools while the virus is continuing to increase. In other recent polls, the majority of Americans polled oppose the reopening of schools right now.

The handling of this pandemic by the Trump administration, Congress and most state governments has been criminal. Forcing schools to open prematurely will set us all back even further.

up
4 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@gulfgal98

Tell that to the people of Florida that are experiencing record high new cases over the last two weeks, including one day this past weekend when over 15,000 new cases were reported. To open schools right now would be insane.

Complications from those cases are the problem, and if there is one thing we can say about this virus with any statistical certainty, very few students and younger adults suffer even symptoms - let alone complications - let alone ones that might threaten their lives.

And then ask yourself this: when have we ever justified shuttering all of the schools simply because we expect a few to get sick? That to me is the real insanity. Hell, people run schools in war zones and teachers teach under all sorts circumstance far more challenging and dangerous than contracting what is (for them) a relatively benign illness.

I guess for some older people who don't have school age kids and/or do not need to work outside their homes, the well being of people under 50 isn't much of a priority. But the vast majority of younger folks aren't so privileged that the loss of a year of school for their children can in any way be considered a viable option.

Or to put it another way, money and/or quarantine can help older adults deal with the consequences of coronavirus, but nothing can ever replace the time a child misses from school. You simply never make those precious days up. They're lost for good.

How do people not see this? Are you all so selfish that the small risk to your personal well being is more important than the education of 50 million children in this country?

-
EDIT: Sorry, make that 70 million if you count college students.

And if you do the math: that's 70 million years of schooling permanently lost nationwide if we don't open this fall, which rises to over 100 million school years if the lockdowns continue through the Spring.

Then ask yourself how those numbers compare in importance to 15,000 new Corona cases.

up
1 user has voted.

The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

gulfgal98's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger age does not protect someone from suffering severe effects of this disease and possibly even dying.

Sema Hernandez is a candidate for the Senate from Texas. I am not sure of her exact age, but she is definitely under 50.

Marc Lamont Hill is age 42. In addition, Nick Cordero, Broadway star, recently died from COVID-19 after suffering from it for three months and having his leg amputated as a result of it. He was only 41.

The gist of what you appear to be saying is that we must be willing to sacrifice lives so that children will not miss school, even though some of them may get sick and/or die.

I will restate what I said before. According to a very recent Axios/Ipsos poll, over 70% of parents were opposed to the reopening of schools right now. In addition many teachers are also opposed to reopening so soon. Children are very adaptable and will not suffer from a longer time away from school if we can get this damn pandemic under control.

I will get back to the real issue here. The push for the reopening of America would not even be a problem IF Congress and the President had treated this pandemic with the type of caution and solutions from the beginning. The President has undercut the experts from the beginning and politicized the wearing of masks which go a long way in preventing the spread of this virus. Congress and the President failed miserably to address the loss of jobs, income, and health insurance by the general public and by true small businesses. Most of the European Union nations did address COVID seriously and swiftly to help contain the spread and they also kept their citizens and small businesses whole.

One last thing. To view people who are over the age of 50 as being selfish simply because they do not want to needlessly die is to imply that they are dispensable. It is insulting. No human should ever be viewed as being dispensable.

up
6 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@gulfgal98
you clearly don't grasp the magnitude of societal damage shutting down the schools is and will continue to wreck long after coronavirus is only a memory.

Like worrying about swimming with too many jellyfish while a tsunami approaches.

up
0 users have voted.

The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

Cassiodorus's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger The least they could do would be to get the recovery right, which means paying everyone well to stay home while contact tracing, universal testing, and a proper isolation of the virus do their work.

Opening the schools merely delays the moment when they conclude that nothing of importance will happen until they get the recovery right.

up
9 users have voted.

"Scab of a nation, driven insane" -- Frank Zappa

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@Cassiodorus

while the lock downs remain in force.

They are the knee on the neck of the economy.

up
0 users have voted.

The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

Shahryar's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

carry on, though.

up
4 users have voted.
Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@Shahryar

to go all PC on me.

I think it's an extremely apt analogy.
Just wait a few more months and find out.

up
0 users have voted.

The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

wendy davis's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

the schools' (some will open on a limited basis as with NYC) as deleterious, myself, save for the oft-forseen by the bill gatesians, that all schools will become online schools, private charters rule, and tech rules!.

i'll admit that when i click into microsoft news to get my email each day (even though microsoft no longer supports it), i see conflicting news on covid-10 deaths and new cases. but no matter what's going on, boatloads of amerikan business have closed, amazon and (formerly pierre omidyar's) ebay are making profits that should make 'philanthropist) bill gates blush... the B&M Gates foundation is the main contributor to the WHO... and his/their ID 2020 isn't a conspiracy theory as some seem to believe.

Q: 'what's the difference between bill gates and god'?
A: 'god doesn't believe she's bill gates'.

still, the world will never be the same (post-pandemic, if there ever is a 'post'), and the coming depression may not be caused by the pandemic, but we need to prepare for it, and (imo) use what's left of our stim checks to stock up for a gift and/or barter economy.

oh, and some states' 'emergency UI' have already folded. bernhard at MoA also writes, fwiw:
Covid-19 - New Quick Tests Are Coming, Cootiestan, A Lack Of Lockdown Death;

A fast test for SARS-CoV-2 infections is urgently needed. One is now is coming to the market:

FDA Authorizes First Antigen Test to Help in the Rapid Detection of the Virus that Causes COVID-19 in Patients

calls for UBI also rattle me a bit, as with bernie sanders calls for '$6000 a month until the cornavirus stabilizes'. would some amount of UBI, say $1000/month replace all of the rest of the (ever-dwindling) social safety net? the devil's in the details, of course, but folks often forget to imagine those.

don't let's not let bill gates, de blasio, and cuomo 'reimagine education'.

up
2 users have voted.
Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@wendy davis

is far more likely to destroy public education than Bill Gates.

You are basically begging public school parents to shop elsewhere, and the ones who can afford to will do just that, leaving poor kids with no other choice for school but a public Zoom class with a buggy old computer on a dodgy internet connection.

And that's how the already cavernous educational equity gap in his country cracks wide open....

up
1 user has voted.

The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

Cassiodorus's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger You down with that, dog?

up
0 users have voted.

"Scab of a nation, driven insane" -- Frank Zappa

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@Cassiodorus

up
0 users have voted.

The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

Cassiodorus's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger Why, do you have herd immunity yourself?

up
1 user has voted.

"Scab of a nation, driven insane" -- Frank Zappa

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@Cassiodorus

young teachers and students are typically asymptomatic, but in the 1 in 5 chance a student or teacher shows outward symptoms, you send them for treatment. Assuming you can keep some sort of class cohesion through the initial group infection phase, and as the symptomatic cases develop more resistance, eventually you should come out with an overall cohort far less susceptible to the virus and far less contagious to the rest of us.

Prinicipals and other administrators, who are typically older, will need to be more careful - especially early on. But a lot of their tasks are not necessarily student related. They can also work from home more easily.

Of course, this would all be completely voluntary, and anybody who felt the least uncomfortable could opt out at any time. But at least we keep the kids in school and learning instead of hiding under their beds.

Just trying to stay creative...you know?

up
1 user has voted.

The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

Cassiodorus's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger if you don't have universal testing to find out who has it and who doesn't? You have no idea where or who the asymptomatic carriers are.

And the idea that children are LESS susceptible to COVID-19 does not mean that they aren't susceptible at all.

Meanwhile you have a society in which access to health care is limited to those with health insurance, and in that population limited to those who think they can pay for treatment should they be revealed as being sick.

What they're going to do is: they're going to open the schools, while the disease escalates, while the hospitals fill to capacity, and while they still don't know who the asymptomatic carriers are.

It doesn't have to be this way.

up
6 users have voted.

"Scab of a nation, driven insane" -- Frank Zappa

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@Cassiodorus

People carry all sorts of bugs around with them all the time. If they don't feel anything and can go on with their class day, where's the harm?

up
0 users have voted.

The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

Cassiodorus's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger And what's your most recent monograph on COVID-19?

up
1 user has voted.

"Scab of a nation, driven insane" -- Frank Zappa

snoopydawg's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

and let everyone else get on with their lives right? Do you have any idea how many grandparents are raising their grandkids? Or helping to raise them because the parents are working more than one job? How do you wanna deal with this situation? Everything is not as black and white as you want to make it. Would the economy have crashed as much as it did if we had been supported economically like other countries did? I doubt it and if we had we’d be on top of this and possibly opening up safely like other countries are.

up
4 users have voted.

"It is remarkable that a sitting president would express less than complete confidence in the American democracy’s electoral process."

Hillary: "I'd be president today if Comey, Bernie, Bros and Putin hadn't stolen it from me."

wendy davis's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

anything. i'm quoting the axios poll saying that 71%, most teachers oppose opening schools. i had to go back to make sure, but sagaar had noted that 'the public is more afraid of the virus than'...(you and i?, or close to that) which was what i'd been fumbling to try to convey: the stats seem all over the map, as had the WHO's recommendations, including: 'doesn't aerosolize', now 'aerosolizes'; which masks work...or don't work..

kid especially need socialization, although we all do, and the apparent UK/US stats on spousal abuse, folks dying from lack of their cancer treatments, suicides, the increase of spousal abuse...are horrific.

but you've made my point for me inadvertently: what bill gates imagines for NY IS online school. and remember, he's also the first maniac to go full-tilt boogie for private for profit charter schools.

UBI during the 'duration of the pandemic' won't happen, nor will medicare4all. there may not be a second CARES package, but if there is, trillions more will go to the wall street oligarchs, we serfs may get a penny on the dollar.

someone on this thread had used the words: "if it's ever over", and that may prove only too prescient., although i'll try not to wax too paranoid to explain how that might be.

up
3 users have voted.
Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@wendy davis

You think all those public school parents financially able to afford other options are going to sit home and watch their kids lose a year of school and not do anything about it?

Cite all the bullshit polls you want, but don't complain when public school attendance shrivels up because only the poor with nowhere else to go are the only ones left in the system.

But hey, it's clear from all the useless flack I've gotten on this thread than the government's abdication of its commitment to public school children simply isn't that big a concern for most. So I think I'll just take my leave now and let you all go back to cowering under your desks in debilitating fear because the corporate media has told you that what's what you should do in a time of crisis.

Old habits die hard.

up
0 users have voted.

The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

wendy davis's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

chosen to misconstrue what i've written, but also sadly, online we often talk past one another.

up
4 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

But hey, it's clear from all the useless flack I've gotten on this thread than the government's abdication of its commitment to public school children simply isn't that big a concern for most.

I wrote about that last night and most people have written about how the government has failed at every level except for their donors. Same with all the health issues that are not being treated because of what hospitals have done. Either you don't read the comments fully or there are reading comprehension issues.

let you all go back to cowering under your desks in debilitating fear because the corporate media has told you that what's what you should do in a time of crisis.

Seriously? It's great that you survived COVID but your lack of concern for those who didn't and died from it or are left with debilitating health issues is interesting.

Old habits die hard.

Indeed.

up
4 users have voted.

"It is remarkable that a sitting president would express less than complete confidence in the American democracy’s electoral process."

Hillary: "I'd be president today if Comey, Bernie, Bros and Putin hadn't stolen it from me."

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@wendy davis

but IMO you get a lot more bang for your public buck with M4A.

up
2 users have voted.

The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger @Not Henry Kissinger

with all respect to the teachers on here (and elsewhere), I think you're seriously over-idealizing the value of school.

When I was a little girl, maybe, just maybe, it was that valuable. Post NCLB and teach-to-the-test and turning the whole place into a corporate theme park/propaganda dispenser, not so much.

And yes, I know schools have been vectors for propaganda before the recent forty-year unpleasantness. They just used to be something more than that as well.

At some point, you have to reckon the damage and decide whether the place is still something worth risking one's life for.

up
4 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Cassiodorus's picture

@Lookout Schooling. Mostly, schooling has happened the way it happened because nobody wanted to change it. It was inequitable, dysfunctional, and it largely served to allow children to form peer groups while their parents were granted day care.

The bourgeois panic over "our schools are dysfunctional" stands in lack of a genuine reason why they should exist. What the corporations want (and the Two-Party System and the system of money in politics has enshrined them into being the only groups that matter) is for the government to train their prospective employees for free. Since it's all compulsory it doesn't work that way.

No doubt plenty of other districts will join LA and San Diego because they simply don't want to rethink schooling, having neither money nor resources to do so. I taught in inner-city schools; as a male teaching in an elementary school setting I was stereotyped as a 5th-grade teacher, and I don't really like inner-city 5th-graders. Mostly when I hang out with 5th graders for any amount of time, I wish they would get older, getting younger being an impossibility.

A district did want me to teach their 1st grade -- but they used scripted lessons, would have required me to use them, and the scripted lessons would have required me to speak only English to a classroom full of non-English-speaking Spanish-speaking students. I believe it was called "Open Court." Fortunately the state of California has repealed that portion of Proposition 227 which encouraged such classrooms -- but that development was too late for me. In sum, the schools did not persuade me that there was a place for me there, and I gave up.

I am convinced that the best way to improve the schools, should any part of America want to do such a thing, is to make the parents richer and to greatly encourage the culture of reading above and beyond what is being done now, preferably by making every classroom into a library. If we are not using classrooms merely to warehouse children, they should all be libraries. All the to-do about education as a political issue over the past four decades has been to disguise the fact that America does not really care, not having a solid reason to effect any sort of change. On a meta-level, the schools are there to reproduce the social classes; Annette Lareau's "Unequal Childhoods," a book which in its 2nd edition should be required reading in every Department of Education core course, will say as much.

Online education will be a failure. Bringing back the kids under social distancing rules won't work either; most schools aren't built for that sort of thing, and the districts are not dealing with the problem fast enough to open them up in September. We simply have to use our imaginations. But at least many of us have recognized that we need to do so, which is a start.

up
14 users have voted.

"Scab of a nation, driven insane" -- Frank Zappa

wendy davis's picture

@Cassiodorus

the industrialized 'interchangeable parts' theory? of course it depended on the location and demographics, so some schools may have had gifted and talented' programs, and eventually 'chapter' programs for those who didn't learn in the same manner as the rest of the interchangeable parts, where memory was key to rote learning for passing tests. in our area, teachers were demoted and assigned to those classes.

history was often reduced to dates: battle of hastings, 1066. what was it about? never mind; there won't be any essay Qs.

but as to classrooms becoming libraries, i'd offer a few things assuming you mean K-12: there are theories that early reading is antithetical to learning, as symbols are disjointing for a lot of young uns, and they're better off being read to, learning poetry, the cadence and beauty of language, and so on.

but even if a kid has learned how to read, decode, remember...what one reads matters, and as you know good teachers discuss and challenge what's been read, as in: teaching kids to think and analyze, not just accept what's written.

and of course not all kids can learn to read without protocols like educational kinesiology and exercises for stimulating cross-hemispheric communication. back i the day, i'd offered to teach Brain Gym in our local grade schools: no thanks.

i'd also offer that most schools in underfunded budget trouble under obomba, biden, and arne (zzzzzzz) duncan cut the (potentially) best programs: art, music, and humanities. and online schooling will never replace hands-on learning, and the fear i see is that the nation will 'never return to normal', and zoom learning will be it.

hell, that would work for weeding out the lower classes: no laptops, no wifi, so sorry. they can "fold towels", as our daughter's 4th grade Master Teacher recommended for her.

up
6 users have voted.
Cassiodorus's picture

@wendy davis that if you make the classrooms into libraries you can talk about books, because there are books to talk about.

You can find out about a kid's reading abilities or lack thereof by using miscue analysis. Sure, they promote it as a matter of "reading difficulties," but that's because the W.-inspired Hell of anxiety about student performance on uniform, standardized tests under NCLB replaced sophisticated, accurate tests (and sophisticated, effective curriculum, for the most part) with forced pledges of allegiance to the McGraw-Hill corporation. "Hooked on books" was replaced by "omigod we gotta get those test scores up."

Yeah, I don't know what they do about kids with no Internet access. Certainly with LA Unified there must be a lot of those.

up
3 users have voted.

"Scab of a nation, driven insane" -- Frank Zappa

wendy davis's picture

@Cassiodorus

answered One of my concerns. ; )

up
3 users have voted.
Lookout's picture

@Cassiodorus

I spent two decades on the front line of school reform as a governor appointed commissioner of school reform, state school superintendent teacher advisory committee, and the leadership council of the Alabama teachers' forum. All while teaching 8th grade.

My goal was community designed schools along the lines of the 8 year study.
https://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/1947/Eight-Year-Study.html
Your library approach could be one of those models.
Sadly (but not surprisingly) TPTB couldn't let go of their power and never allowed even an experiment.

I've written a couple of essays here on my thoughts about education...
https://caucus99percent.com/content/weekly-watch-26
https://caucus99percent.com/content/weekly-watch-27

I think it is difficult to be a good teacher if you don't enjoy the kids.
All the best in your current endeavors!

up
1 user has voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

magiamma's picture

@Lookout
Practitioner in Austin. The scheduler for her group got covid from her young son who got it from his baby sitter.

Outdoor learning is great when possible.

up
11 users have voted.

Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

Lookout's picture

@magiamma

I got a grant one year and the kids and I created an outdoor classroom and arboretum. Great fun. Sadly now it is a parking lot,

up
1 user has voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

treated as captives: Masked. Their movements limited. Their natural exuberance curbed. It all seems like a new form of child abuse.

My imagination shows me that kids kept at home or in groups in playgrounds or daycare centers for working parents will be better off than being exposed to this robot obedience exercise.

(I'm a parent and a grandparent and a retired teacher with a Master's in Early Childhood education. None of which makes me an expert on anything that's going on now.)

up
19 users have voted.

NYCVG

Cassiodorus's picture

@NYCVG and thanks for dropping by the diary!

up
6 users have voted.

"Scab of a nation, driven insane" -- Frank Zappa

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@NYCVG

up
1 user has voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Granma's picture

along with enough parents to make a difference, ideally enough to make Trump back down. And when did we give the president the power to dictate about schools anyway? He is not supposed to hold absolute authority over how all federal $ are spent. I hope the revolt against Trump's school plan causes him to fire DeVos, blaming her. It is fine with me for her to be a scapegoat.

LookOut suggested outdoor school might be an option. For most of the school year, in most of the country, that won't work. It is an idea for the places where it is possible. And maybe a first class session outside for half an hour would be a good way for teachers and students to meet each other.

up
13 users have voted.
Cassiodorus's picture

@Granma was the hostage-taking part of No Child Left Behind (Bush Junior) and Race to the Top (Obama). These are also things we should be rethinking.

Hope you are doing well Granma!

up
12 users have voted.

"Scab of a nation, driven insane" -- Frank Zappa

wendy davis's picture

@Granma

imagine the varied climates and seasons across the US: heat, rain, snow, from the sky, and the food that needs to be prepared for 58 million students, as well as bathroom facilities, and i'd assume: tables, chairs, books, and coat racks.

i'd read this last night, and when mr. wd had come home from a meeting last night, he'd said one board member had told him that a friend of ours from DeeCee who has an opera company and his plans to bring his Opera Lafayette to our tiny town to perform for three nights had his plans thwarted by coronavirus. so his new plan is to bring them all for three October nights in the open air north of the homestead's original big hay barn. guess we'll see how that goes. ; )

up
5 users have voted.

I can, but I saw enough distress amongst my classmates to realize that most really needed that give and take interaction. When I was in sixth grade, my sister was a High School freshman she took Algebra and had a lot of trouble with it. So I read her book and another from the public library to teach myself Algebra so I could help my sister with her homework. But I can't play an instrument (I really would like to) or paint a picture. My oldest grandson understood negative numbers and arithmetic at the age of five and could draw pictures like a pro. My middle grandson is dyslexic but is talented musically. He learns well from videos but not books. My youngest grandson needs hands on give and take teaching. he doesn't really learn from either books or videos. He needs personalized lectures with Q &A.
All kids are different. I have doctors that are afraid to meet patients. We have teachers that are afraid to teach kids. Much easy to give a zoom lecture and call it a day.

Re doctors, my lung specialists wanted to give me a physical over the phone! An easy $300 for him, but of dubious value to me. How can he evaluate my lungs by talking to me over the telephone? Were all those years of stethoscopes and lung machines just window dressing?

EDIT:
Riverboat gambling and sports betting parlors are open along with bars, but schools shouldn't open?

up
7 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

Let's not use so much 1st-person-plural when when what we really mean is a particular, actually rather small set of 3rd-person plurals, shall we?

“Where all are guilty, no one is; confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits, and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing.”

- Hannah Arendt

If there's one thing I especially hate and fear about these last 6-ish years, it's people aggressively giving up on possibilities and nascent realities they don't even know are there - try giving any evidence that it exists, and they burn you for heresy.

Oh, and speaking of creepy crypto-Catholicism:

Part of me wonders if anyone has actually sat Donald Trump down and told him that he's pursuing a path of political suicide. Like anyone in a position to do this would be scared away from sitting Trump down and giving him "the talk" because Trump would fire them after "the talk" when it's plain that there's no future with the guy anyway.

Sounds like a job for Bill "Jafar" Barr...unless he's the one who really wants this.

up
5 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

on this program expressed any reservations about sending their kids back to school...

up
2 users have voted.
Cassiodorus's picture

@Blue Republic After a six-week intensive course those who enroll will be awarded certificates in "Hand-Picked Amateur Epidemiology," qualifying them for citation by "news" sources.

up
8 users have voted.

"Scab of a nation, driven insane" -- Frank Zappa

snoopydawg's picture

@Blue Republic

side and from school Districts that have adequate funding to keep kids safe. How will that happen in schools that have been defunded down to bare bones and can’t even get required supplies to last a year?

What happens when one teacher gets infected and more than one class then has to be isolated for 2 weeks? I’m sure that there are tons of other problems people can’t predict that will make opening up a huge problem

And who gets to decide which teacher, kid, janitors or others should risk their lives so that we can get back to normal? Is life really not worth protecting here anymore just so rich f’cks can make more obscene amounts of money? Boy this country has turned callous when we think some people are expendable. Congratulations America. The value of lives overseas has come home.

I’m appalled by how some think people are expendable.

up
4 users have voted.

"It is remarkable that a sitting president would express less than complete confidence in the American democracy’s electoral process."

Hillary: "I'd be president today if Comey, Bernie, Bros and Putin hadn't stolen it from me."

wendy davis's picture

on such a crucial and time-sensitive subject.

i did manage to watch the video, and i'll say again that krystal ball is brilliant, as well as eloquent. and the other kid ain't too shabby, either.

i'm always at a bit of a loss as to 'these folks' in this case, often 'left v. right', etc. but on mandatory school openings, i may have t do this in two parts.

in his ‘Teacher unions support drive to reopen US schools as pandemic explodes’,14 July 2020, wsws.org, david brown writes in part:

Teachers have responded with outrage to this callous disregard for the safety of students, teachers, and staff. Spontaneous discussion between teachers on social media in areas like Arizona and Oakland, California immediately turned to organizing strikes to prevent in-person teaching where the pandemic is growing.

For their part, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and National Education Association (NEA) have solidarized themselves with the demand for students to physically return to school, merely quibbling over the details. On July 10 they released a joint statement with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) stating: “Educators and pediatricians share the goal of children returning safely to school this fall. Our organizations are committed to doing everything we can so that all students have the opportunity to safely resume in-person learning.” In working with the AAP, the unions signed on with an organization providing pseudoscientific justifications for the Trump administration’s drive to reopen schools.
.......................................
Throughout the current pandemic, there has been overwhelming bipartisan support for providing public money to banks and corporations while carrying out cuts to social services. Democratic senators like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders voted for the CARES Act, which funneled trillions of dollars to prop up the stock market but provided only $13.5 billion for K-12 education. Now the Democratic Party is promoting the HEROES Act, passed by the House, that only provides $60 billion of relief to K-12, leaving roughly $170 billion in education cuts to be made this year.
...........................................
On Thursday, the AFT held a “School Reopening Roundtable” chaired by Weingarten with Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Dr. Jill Biden, Joseph Biden’s wife. None of the speakers suggested any action to oppose the forced reopening of schools under conditions of the accelerated spread of COVID-19, and not once were any of recent strikes or protests by teachers mentioned.

Elizabeth Warren cynically dismissed the concerns of teachers fearful for their own health and safety, the health and safety of their students and the broader community by declaring, “I get it.” Ignoring the recent mass struggles by teachers over cuts to education funding she added, “but the next time you feel frustrated, do something about it.. .. The thing you can do is you can sit down and think, ‘OK, we are aiming toward November 3rd. How do we make sure, make sure, make sure, make sure that Joe Biden is going to be elected and that we’re going to get Democrats up and down the ballot.”


AFT President Randi Weingarten and Elizabeth Warren working to shut down the 11-day Chicago Teachers strike, October 2019

Weingarten, Warren and the Biden campaign imagine teachers have no memory. When the Obama administration with Joseph Biden as vice president took over in 2009, a Democratic majority controlled both the House of Representatives and Senate. Immediately they launched a nationwide campaign against public education, including massive budget cuts and the promotion of privately run charter schools. The budget cuts were so deep that 12 years later when schools were closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, per pupil spending in many states remained below 2008 levels. The chronic underfunding of public schools in the United States over the past decade was a policy carried out by the Democrats.

when i'd published my may 2017 'Betsy DeVos: a terrifying confluence of Church, State, Kleptocracy, & the Unbearable Whiteness of Being' let's say...it didn't get much sympathy. of course it mightta been due to the fact that i'd offered: (Spoiler alert: if you think that Amerikan public education sucks so much that it can’t get any worse, this isn’t for you.)

but so it goes, eh?

up
4 users have voted.
Cassiodorus's picture

@wendy davis Tho' Warren's strategy seems a bit puzzling. If the idea was to blame any COVID-19 outbreaks caused by school openings upon the Republicans, why would Warren want to encourage them?

Looks to me like time for some more wildcat strikes.

up
1 user has voted.

"Scab of a nation, driven insane" -- Frank Zappa

wendy davis's picture

@Cassiodorus

yes, i think wildcat teachers strikes may be coming, and all those are able need to be in picket lines with them, w/ one caveat: online classes may lead to permanent online education. this will be Part II, as i needed a bit more time, but you'd asked:

Already a couple of districts in California have decided to go all-online. Could an awakening to higher meaning be too far behind?

and i'd wondered what your Q had meant. the NYT is always behind a paywall for me now, unless i can access it via msn or some such. so: the following bits are from:

Haphazard plans to reopen US schools spur growing opposition among educators’, Renae Cassimeda, 15 July 2020, wsws.org

Note: i'd incorrectly thought there was a link to Orange County and pediatricians...

'The two largest school districts in California, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), released a joint statement Monday announcing they will begin their school years fully online. LAUSD will begin classes August 18 while SDUSD will begin August 31. LAUSD and SDUSD serve a combined 20 percent of the 6 million public school students throughout California.

The move to a fully online format was announced as a temporary measure, with the joint statement noting, “both districts will continue planning for a return to in-person learning during the 2020-21 academic year, as soon as public health conditions allow.” [whatever that means]
.........................................
Also on Monday, a meeting of the Orange County Board of Education, which presides over multiple school districts in Southern California, approved its guidelines for the full reopening of schools on August 31 through in-person learning, the most reckless model which is being heavily promoted by the Trump administration.

In gross disregard for the lives of educators, students and their families, the guidelines advised against the use of masks and social distancing measures. It states, “K-12 children represent the lowest-risk cohort for Covid-19. Because of that fact, social distancing of children and reduced census classrooms is not necessary and therefore not recommended. … Requiring children to wear masks during school is not only difficult—if not impossible to implement—but not based on science. It may even be harmful and is therefore not recommended.”
.........................
Various rallies and actions by educators, parents and students are erupting across the US against the palpably unsafe return to school:

[Teachers in Austin, Texas, loudoun county, VA, lawrence, KS, St. Louis, Manceda,
Manteca and Ripon (central CA, and arlington, VA.]
......................................
A paraeducator from Massachusetts explained why a nationwide strike is needed, saying, “I think it would help to have a nationwide strike. Just talking about it with administration won’t sway them. We have to show them we won’t sacrifice ourselves because they say it’s safe. They say children don’t get sick, but we do, and we’re not going to risk our own lives or infecting our families.”

Dylan Lomangino, an elementary Orchestra teacher at Riverside Magnet School in East Hartford, Connecticut, expressed support for a nationwide strike. “What I’m hearing from the NEA is that their big solution is to vote for Biden. But what else? I realize we have to fight against capitalist interests. How do we use our collective strength to get what we need is the ultimate question. We have more leverage because parents and students are invested in schools, so we can actively work against a government that represents capitalist interests.”

can you explain what you mean here? Could an awakening to higher meaning be too far behind?

diane ravitch has been tracking how many pieces of silver have already been given to private charters and religious schools via the PPP program.

imo, destroying public education has been another duopoly project, and online i what bill gates wants. from labor notes, and it's weak tea and rambling but a few bits;

'Teachers Must Set the Terms for How and When Schools Reopen', June 12, 2020 / Barbara Madeloni

In a matter of days in mid-March, educators were expected to move classes online, work from home, and manage their own fear and uncertainty—all while worried for students whom they suddenly couldn’t see, talk to, or reassure.

Even veteran organizers were at a loss for what steps to take, except to focus on the immediate problems. How do we move classes online? Will students who depend on school for meals have enough to eat? What about the students with no internet?
..................
HEALTH AND SAFETY FIRST (lengthy and confusing to me)
.....................
WHAT DOES LEARNING LOOK LIKE?

The move to remote learning makes more urgent a question that educators have been demanding a voice in for years: what does and should learning look like? A test-driven curriculum has limited teacher autonomy and narrowed the focus to what can be tested. Educators have been clamoring for the autonomy to center students' social and emotional well-being and for a curriculum that reflects their lives. Chicago first-grade teacher Michelle Gunderson said, “We need to start framing our return to work as what schools could be.”

Payes said that even before the pandemic she was seeing an overwhelming number of students who had been traumatized by poverty and racism. Now, coming off of the shelter-in-place and in the midst of today’s uprising, “all of these students are going to need more support.” Attention to students’ emotional needs and the necessity of relationships with caring adults beyond the family—something educators and parents have always said to each other—can now be clearly seen as essential and not simply ancillary.

THE TANGLE OF REMOTE LEARNING

Those who’ve always wanted to privatize public education through remote learning have now had the bad luck to have people actually experience it. That remote learning isn’t education became clear to parents during the pandemic, as they struggled to support their children and saw them getting more screen time than parents ever wanted.

In New York, when Governor Andrew Cuomo said it was time to invite Bill Gates to reimagine education, the pushback was immediate and powerful from parents, teachers, and student advocacy groups.

Still, given the health issues of reopening schools, remote learning remains a possible makeshift solution. Kevin Prosen of the Movement of Rank-and-file Educators (MORE) caucus in the New York teachers union said, “You want to provide for kids (with remote learning), but not let people think this is working, that we can teach this way.”

Many see remote teaching as a temporary solution, others are not comfortable even with that. Matt Bach, president of the Andover (Massachusetts) Education Association, says teachers should insist on a return to schools and on the funding needed for safety—more physical space, more educators, smaller class sizes. “We need to stop saying that 10 students in a classroom is impossible,” Bach said, “and start saying that is the way it should always have been.”

up
3 users have voted.
Cassiodorus's picture

@wendy davis that if anyone was to get education right, it would have to appear at a moment in time and space when the idea of education "as is" would absolutely not work. That's all I meant. America has put up with lower-class schools with horrible conditions, but never anything like horrible conditions plus COVID-19. So far Americans have been willing to put up with really bad stuff. Hopefully this time they aren't.

Otherwise thank you for your salutary research into the profits-system infestation of American education!

up
3 users have voted.

"Scab of a nation, driven insane" -- Frank Zappa

wendy davis's picture

@Cassiodorus

thanks for your explanation.

up
1 user has voted.