Nashville education blogger TC Weber asks some very good questions for those insisting we just open schools and let all the kids back in. Weber has noted in the past that while school buildings in Nashville aren’t open, schools are open. Teachers are working, instruction is happening, and children are learning.
Here’s some of what he has to say to those aggressively insisting on re-opening the buildings:
Arguments around the re-opening of schools serve to illustrate our penchant to proclaim that “students should come first”, while continually acting in a manner counter to that mantra. We are like shoppers on Black Friday, cordially sharing coffee and stories until the doors open, then it’s suddenly a mad rush, with elbows flying, to fulfill our desires. If we were truly concerned about kids, we’d be developing solutions that addressed their specific needs before shoving forth our primary desires to open school buildings.
In a rush to open schools, children’s social and emotional well-being is often cited as a core reason for re-opening. A legitimate issue, but one that falls into the aforementioned trap of ignoring existing conditions. I don’t doubt that there is ample evidence of increased student depression and anxiety, but how do you isolate the cause of that depression and anxiety? What is school closure related and what is brought forth by dealing with the effects of a pandemic? Is a child depressed because they can’t receive in-person instruction or because a parent has lost income at work and is struggling to meet the bills? Is a child anxiety-ridden because they can’t interact with their peers in-person, or is it because pandemic-related issues are causing the disintegration of their parent’s marriage?