When the pandemic first struck- in the terror and uncertainty of those first “two weeks to slow the spread,” which became the first of many- the workers of the world were divided into two categories: Essential and nonessential.
Essential workers- from nurses to sanitation engineers to grocery store clerks- were cheered and appreciated, some were even paid adequately for the first time in their underpaid careers. Essential workers were encouraged to keep on working, while everyone else sheltered in place.
Nonessential workers were those professions impossible to do remotely and unsafe to do in-person at the time- like hair-stylists and manicurists. For the good of everyone, nonessential workers were encouraged to stay home.
Public school teachers, for whatever reason, found themselves in the latter group, rather than the former. That, more than science or Donald Trump, set the tone for the last two years.
Teachers are essential workers; treating them as anything else was a mistake from the outset.
“Remote learning,” which we are learning now was something of an oxymoron, is still plaguing school districts across the country.
That remote learning didn’t work is beyond dispute. The vast majority of school-age children just aren’t capable of learning stuck behind a computer screen for 6 hours a day. The administration of remote learning has been a nightmare for students, teachers and parents. The learning loss has been staggering.
We also know that economically disadvantaged public school children suffered a catastrophic learning loss at a rate far exceeding that of their wealthier counterparts.
And that’s just learning loss: The kids are most definitely not alright. They aren’t perhaps as resilient as we thought.
The damage done to school age children by pandemic mitigation measures may be incalculable. But however deep a hole the public school system has dug for itself, in many districts it hasn’t stopped digging.
Public school students have suffered through silent lunches outside in frigid temperatures- ostensibly during a deadly pandemic. They have…