The would-be school year is fast approaching and thousands of parents across Arizona are panicking.
How will their children learn this year? When will they have a physical place to go? Will parents be able to return to work? Will they have to pay for tutors out of pocket?
With most of the critical reopening decisions now in the hands of Superintendent Kathy Hoffman, school districts and ultimately the teachers’ union, it’s obvious now that crafting a system that works for parents and kids won’t be the top priority for the educational establishment. Every decision from here on out will be to cater to the desires of administrators and teachers. Period.
Come August 17th, district school families will be forced to accept whatever dysfunctional Covid-schooling platform that is thrusted into their laps. Parents of low-income families will be hit the hardest, especially those who can’t work from home. Special needs children will be hung out to dry. Kids in abusive households will continue to have no escape from a hostile environment.
And if any parent or taxpayer questions why their needs appear to be secondary to those of the educational establishment, they are immediately shouted down and told that they just want people to die. So what if your child needs in person learning—you should just accept paying unlimited amounts in taxes to feed a substandard educational system that only adds to the chaos in your life.
Even more infuriating is the “solution” now being offered to parents that require in person schooling to address their work/life situations. Rather than open up for learning, several school districts are now offering paid childcare services.
That’s right – residents already paying over half of their state taxes to education are now expected to pay to have their kids in school to not learn. Representatives of the teachers’ union claim it is too risky to teach kids in a classroom, but apparently it is plenty safe to not teach them in a classroom.
Parents and kids deserve better than this.
Families were willing to extend grace at the end of the school year when districts scrambled to reformat the educational experience for online and distant learning. The legislature passed emergency measures to ensure funding would be uninterrupted. And instead of developing a real plan that catered to families that MUST HAVE in person learning, the school districts and education lobby instead put all their time and energy into a public relations campaign to push back the start date of school to October 1st.
It should be noted that there are many schoolteachers and administrators ready and willing to resume in person learning. Afterall, through the peaks and valleys of the pandemic, essential workers have stepped up and done their jobs. Truck workers continued to deliver critical goods, grocery store workers continued to stock shelves, and doctors and nurses continued to man hospitals and treat the unwell. Those teachers that recognize that education is an essential service and wish to provide in person learning to our children should not be stopped by administrators and union thug bosses.
If district schools believe that there is no limit to the mistreatment of hardworking families, they are in for a rude awakening. Most parents are very supportive of their local district school, but they will have no problem walking away from a broken K-12 system if it benefits their child.
They may not be vocal or have active twitter accounts, but these parents are paying attention and are wide awake to this rolling disaster. They are thinking creatively about education and observing more closely than ever the best ways in which their children learn. This will lead to rapid innovation and adoption of flexible models.
Post-pandemic, there may very well be an explosive demand for testing new educational models, from micro-schools, “forest schools,” digital classrooms, to expanded ESAs. An educational Renaissance is a possible and welcome outcome.