As a parent with two children in NYC schools, I see no reason to risk their health, my wife's health, or anyone else's by sending my kids back to school buildings during Bill de Blasio's upcoming exclusive 2020-2021 opt-in period in early November. I think school should be fully remote until we get and keep coronavirus under control. The buildings should be staffed exclusively with volunteers who wish to support children of essential workers who can't get any kind of child care (the REC Centers).
I have an interesting perspective on remote learning since I am a parent who was a teacher for 32 years in NYC. I see every day the live instruction my kids receive at home. They are being educated. It's not exactly the same as what they would be getting in normal times in school buildings but we are in the midst of a pandemic which has taken the lives of over 1/4 million Americans. The teachers I witness are doing quality work under these next to impossible conditions.
I do not see teachers posting assignments and then going out to play a round of golf. I watch teachers engaging with my two kids as best as they are able to. They are attending legitimate classes. Discussions take place, work is explained, my kids are handing assignments in and it is being graded.
I also witness my wife interacting with her remote classes just as if she was live. I hear students participating in live Meets constantly from her basement classroom in our house. She is doing everything humanly possible to make the learning experience legitimate. Remote education can succeed when teachers put in the effort and kids have the necessary devices and wi-fi capability. Instead of using resources to support improving remote instruction and lowering class sizes to the fullest extent possible, the city has wasted ungodly sums of money on a blended learning model that most parents and students are rejecting.
Now Chancellor Carranza and Mayor de Blasio are telling parents that their offer to have children come back to school buildings for blended learning is a one time take it or leave it offer for early November. In their original plan, it was supposed to be quarterly opt-in periods. The new deBlasio policy says if we stay remote now, it's for the whole 2020-2021 school year. Never mind that we have no idea what the pandemic will look like in the spring of 2021. Maybe there will be a widely available safe and effective vaccine. The NY Post editorial board uses a drop-dead parents headline to describe de Blasio's latest blunder. I think it's more incompetence than anything else but certainly there are some bad intentions here as the mayor it seems will do just about anything to get kids back in buildings.
Parents have already voted for remote as only about 1/4 of the students have shown up for live instruction. Why doesn't the city try to make remote learning work instead of kind of threatening parents that they can't send their kids back to buildings all year unless they decide to do so now?
By keeping most kids at home, parents have seen through the media hype that schools are safe. We know what happened in schools in the spring when 75 in service DOE employees died of COVID-19; the bulk of the system being remote might just be preventing a repeat catastrophe in the fall. We should not be taking needless risks now as the virus spreads again but we also don't need to be locked in for remote until September 2021.
Oh, and the UFT, it looks like their strongest reaction will be on social media.
Do you see de Blasio worried about that Tweet? Does anyone respect or fear this union any longer? The union needs to be repaired so badly.