I want to stipulate up front that sending children to school in the midst of a pandemic is a very difficult decision for parents. Isn’t it the primary job of parents to keep their loved ones safe?
Nicholas Kristof, op-Ed columnist at the New York Times, makes a compelling case to send children back to their classrooms. Here are a list of facts and observations he makes in a piece published on Thursday (some are actual quotes):
- Millions of students will soon have missed a year’s worth of in-person instruction. This is inflicting permanent damage to the group.
- Republicans’ reluctance to wear face masks and distance is one reason so many Americans have died.
- Democrats, disproportionately, are culpable for letting bars stay open while keeping schools closed. Democrats presided over one of the worst blows to the education of disadvantage Americans in history.
- The aforementioned actions the political parties have resulted in more dropouts, less literacy, widening race gaps and long-term harm to some of the most marginalized youth in our country.
- The San Francisco Federal Reserve estimates that educational disruptions may increase the number of dropouts over 10 years by three percent. This will decrease the number of educated workers in the labor force.
- Rich kids have gone back to school and have been mostly on affected.
- Low-income students often do not have Internet or Zoom services.
- Children are disappearing. Some never login and some give up trying to learn online.
- Financial aid applications for colleges have decreased by 10%.
According to McKinsey & Company school closures exacerbate racial inequality.
- Remote learning does not work well for many students.
- The Center for Disease Control found that in person learning has not increase community transmission of Covid.
Notwithstanding all of this evidence, no parents should be forced to send their child to school. But these same people must recognize that the perils of not doing so are not as great as they think, and the damage to their children could be long-lasting.
If I did have a child of school age, I would send them to school if it were available.