D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced yesterday that D.C. public schools will instruct students utilizing remote learning until at least November. All District of Columbia charter schools are certain to follow suit. The news is extremely disappointing for parents and students. However, it is absolutely the correct decision.
As a society we have not done what we needed to do to get this pandemic under control. Some of this phenomenon is due to the science behind Covid-19; it took time for scientists and medical professionals to understand the truly basic behaviors that could reduce infection rates. However, and this is the part where mankind has fallen far short of its potential, politics entered the debate over re-opening businesses and other activities which has resulted in thousands of Americans dying unnecessarily.
The drive to bring life back to a new normal has been extremely strong. People have been out of work and many have not been able to pay their rents or mortgages. Food insecurity has risen rapidly throughout the nation. The natural response to the deep despair and severe stress our neighbors have been facing on a daily basis was to hit the ignition switch on our economy, which before the spread of this infection was the strongest in the world. But what adults often learn the hard way throughout their lives is that what you want to happen is often not what should occur.
This is not to say that those who have argued to keep schools closed have acted with behaviors that should be an example to our children. The Washington Post’s Perry Stein, Julie Zauzmer, and Justin George detailed yesterday, with photographs, members of the Washington Teachers’ Union delivering simulated body bags to the headquarters of DCPS. This is beyond disgusting.
We desperately need to get our children back into classrooms. Stories abound about kids falling behind academically as they are forced to stay home, a situation that is significantly amplified for special education students. Social and psychological problems arise due to the current environment. Adults cannot figure out how to balance school and their careers.
We will get through this current state of affairs. Our education leaders will strengthen distance learning programs and do the absolute best that they can for our scholars. They will do the right thing because that’s what we do in this country.
I’ve re-read many times the words of Congressman John Lewis that he requested to be printed on the day of his funeral. He remarked:
“You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.
Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.”
School buildings will be closed come August. Let’s teach our children.