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Covid Online Schooling: ‘This Year Has Been a Disgrace’

Editorial

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After 15 months of mindless draconian ‘mitigation’ policies, few can rightly argue that teachers unions and school administrators haven’t been among the worst culprits in promoting hypochondria and the dumbing-down of the ‘pandemic’ narrative. At every stage of this virus panic, these two groups of professionals have traded on the outlandish and patently false claims that schools should be closed because children were somehow “at risk” from COVID-19, and that their students are all potential “asymptomatic spreaders” of a deadly disease. Both of those commonly held assumptions have been thoroughly disproven, but despite being debunked repeatedly over the last year, education heads and their political enablers are still using this same raft of lies to enforce more abusive policies used to target children; constant COVID testing, forced quarantines, and banning various group activities. This same crazed pseudoscience has also been used to force children to wear masks for both indoor and outdoor activities. However, we must never lose sight of the most tragic part of all of this: that this protracted debacle will have ultimately deprived the youth of their own once in a lifetime educational, athletic and social experiences, as well as future opportunities in life.

Astoundingly, many teachers went so far as to claim that student ‘spreaders’ were threatening the lives of the teachers. A truly insane proposition, but one which was hardly ever opposed over the last year. These same lies are now being used by teachers unions and governments to coerce children and families to accept the latest experimental genetic COVID-19 injection as a condition of returning to “normal” this fall.

One of the other unfortunate outgrowths of the mass hysteria promoted by educators, teachers unions and government ministers has been the surrender of the children’s in-person educational experience in favour of so-called “distance learning” normally conducted online over Zoom or on other proprietary platforms. While this may have seemed convenient for many teachers and education executives – and for many families who were simply too frightened to meet in groups due mainly to government and media fear campaigns being waged against them – for the majority of students and their families the dream of ‘remote learning’ in 2020-2021 has been an unmitigated disaster.

For those families with the means to hire private tutors, coaches, or join in high-end home schooling ‘pods,’ the transition out of traditional school settings has been much easier. But most parents cannot afford such luxuries. The result has been the a massive widening of an already giant income-education gap. Some contentious educators are beginning to speak out.

I Taught Online School This Year. It Was a Disgrace.” She writes:

The families with the fewest resources were left with nothing. No child care, only the pallid virtual editions of essential services like occupational or speech therapy. If they could work out the logistics, their kids got a couple of hours a day of Zoom school. If they couldn’t, they got attendance warnings. In my fourth-grade class, I had students calling in from the car while their mom delivered groceries, or from the toddler room of their mom’s busy day care center.

Home alone with younger siblings or cousins, kids struggled to focus while bouncing a fussy toddler or getting whacked repeatedly on the head with a foam sword. Others lay in bed and played video games or watched TV. Many times each day, I carefully repeated the instructions for a floundering student, only to have them reply, helplessly, “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you,” their audio squealing and video freezing as they spoke.

Even under optimal conditions, virtual school meant flattening the collaborative magic of the classroom into little more than an instructional video. Stripped of classroom discussion, human connection, art materials, classroom libraries, time and space to play, virtual school was not school; it was busywork obscuring the “rubber-rooming” of the entire school system.

The reality is that very little learning actually takes place.

More shocking still is how some educators (all of them on full pay and benefits) treated with contempt any parents who dared to complain about the abysmal quality of the online ‘learning’ being offered.

Some educators sneered that the parents who complained just wanted free babysitting. But I’m not ashamed to say that child care is at the heart of the work I do. I teach children reading and writing, yes, but I also watch over them, remind them to be kind and stay safe, plan games and activities to help them grow. Children deserve attentive care. That’s the core of our commitment to them.

Rather than take such concerns on board and possibly reevaluate the basis for shuttering their schools, a new breed of high-minded health and safety mavens adopted an even more condescending attitude towards parents, and staunchly defended the most outrageous COVID policies, while constantly claiming that ‘there was no alternative.’ Of course, there were always alternatives (see Sweden), but it was easier for these institutions to just dismiss them and then go to the government for the additional money that was suddenly on offer. This bred a new strata of institutional corruption never seen before.

I am still bewildered and horrified that our society walked away from this responsibility, that we called school inessential and left each family to fend for itself. Meanwhile nurses, bus drivers and grocery workers all went to work in person — most of my students’ parents went to work in person — not because it was safe but because their work is essential. Spare me your “the kids are all right” Facebook memes. Some children may have learned to do laundry or enjoy nature during the pandemic. Many others suffered trauma and disconnection that will take years to repair.

If you can see through the barrage of digital utopia advertising and marketing by Big Tech firms like Microsoft and Google, you’ll quickly realise just how shallow the new COVID culture of ‘remote learning’ truly is. While virtual learning has proven to be very practical and cost-effective for parts of higher education and professional instruction, it has obviously has failed this generation of children.

Does virtual learning work for some kids, in some circumstances? Sure. So does home-schooling, or not attending school at all. But I am profoundly relieved that most districts, including my own, plan to shut down or restrict the online option.

SEE ALSO: COVID School Closures Are a Disaster: Three Perspectives

By now, there are many studies you can point to which demonstrate what a failure the COVID ‘distance learning’ experiment has been. In a 2020 report published in USA Today, entitled, “Scores of students are getting F’s: What’s the point of failing them during COVID-19?“, another disturbing aspect of the disaster was revealed: educators are now using COVID to abandon grades altogether – in effect, drastically lowering expectations and standards for the next generation.

While a recent Rand Corp. study found just 6 in 10 U.S. teachers are assigning letter grades this fall, that rate is nearly double what it was in this past spring. Class failure rates have surged in districts across the country, from Virginia to Hawaii. And those F’s tend to be concentrated among low-income students of color, data indicate, as well as those who are still learning to speak English or have disabilities

The trend raises questions about the culture of grading in general – especially at a time when achievement is so influenced by factors beyond students’ control. “Traditional grading practices aren’t just giving us inaccurate information; they’re also inequitable,” said Joe Feldman, an education consultant who works with schools to improve grading practices and wrote the book “Grading for Equity.”

The ramifications of this are incomprehensible and have the power to permanently alter the trajectory of modern civilisation – transitioning from a merit-based system of education, to a political identity-based ‘equity,’ or communist system, where students are awarded for their participation rather than for actual performance or achievement.

We would do well not to shy away from this debate, as the wheels of history are already in motion. Again, this transition will suit elites and the wealthy class perfectly, but it will most certainly wipe out the middle class, and with it any chance of meritocratic upward mobility for future generations.

This raft of lies is still being pushed by corrupt corporate cartels and government officials. The fact that all of this has been fuelled by pseudoscientific lies parroted by teachers unions and politicians makes it even more difficult to shallow, considering how these teachers are meant to be entrusted with education of our children – not brainwashing them and dismantling one of their main opportunities for advancing in the world.

READ MORE COVID NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire COVID Files

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