There's so much going on today with Election Day and COVID-19.
More than 61,000 children in the U.S. were diagnosed with Covid-19 last week — more than in any other week during the pandemic, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association reported Monday.
In all, 853,635 children have been diagnosed with the virus this year, representing 11.1 percent of all U.S. cases. The percentage of pediatric cases has risen steadily since mid-April, when children accounted for just 2 percent of Covid-19 cases in the country.
"This is a stark reminder of the impact this pandemic is having on everyone — including our children and adolescents," Dr. Sally Goza, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said in a news release. The organization updates the number of children with Covid-19 weekly, using state health department data.
As of Thursday, 121 children had died.
The tally doesn't include a 13-year-old boy who died over the weekend in Missouri, less than two weeks after he last attended class.
So much could be prevented if schools would just go fully remote until we know it is safe in school buildings. Please review the CDC guidelines and send them to de Blasio and Mulgrew:
Students and teachers engage in virtual-only classes, activities, and events
Only stating the obvious there.
I have been somewhat surprised and rather perplexed that readers have taken the national election battle here in the comments. There have to be better places than a dissident UFT blog to argue over the merits of Joe Biden or Donald Trump.
You know where I am coming from writing this blog. I voted for Biden weeks ago with an absentee ballot but am not a big fan. I do have some hopes for Biden on education because his wife Jill Biden is a community college professor who seems to get it on the schools. My class at Middle College was invited to hear her speak when she appeared at LaGuardia Community College in 2016. After listening to her, I came out believing she is on our side. That said, we have to be concerned that the so-called education reformers are fighting to get their voice heard on who Biden picks as the Secretary of Education.
It may be a bit premature as no votes have been tallied as I write this but Chalkbeat this afternoon covered their favorite anti-public education/anti-union group called Democrats for Educational Reform. DFER is trying to push certain pro-charter school people for Secretary of Education.
Democrats for Education Reform is coordinating a behind-the-scenes push for Chicago schools chief Janice Jackson, the head of Baltimore schools Sonja Brookins Santelises, or Philadelphia superintendent William Hite, according to an email sent to supporters Monday by the group’s president Shavar Jeffries and obtained by Chalkbeat. All three, Jeffries wrote, would represent a “‘big tent’ approach to education policy making.”
Translation: Political realities mean that someone who has championed a specific brand of education reform isn’t likely to be Biden’s pick. But it’s possible for the choice to be someone who’s worked closely with charter schools while running a big-city school district — rather than someone affiliated with a major teachers union, for instance, whose tent might be too small for Democrats for Education Reform.
We cannot allow ourselves to be "Arne Duncaned" if Biden wins. One has to get way down toward the bottom of the Chalkbeat article before they talk about the changing political times and why DFER may not have so much sway with Biden.
In general, though, DFER has found some of its favored policies moving further from the Democratic Party’s mainstream. As a presidential candidate, Biden has proposed a slew of new federal restrictions on charter schools and been critical of standardized testing — a clear shift from the Obama administration, which promoted the growth of charter schools and teacher evaluations linked to test scores.
“It is certainly the Biden plan,” the campaign’s policy director Stef Feldman said at a recent event, describing the candidate’s agenda for schools. “The vice president is pretty committed to the concept that we need to be investing in our public neighborhood schools and we can’t be diverting funding away from them.”
A number of factors have driven the shift within the Democratic party — including disillusionment with Obama-era reforms, the increased political strength of teachers and their unions, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who is highly unpopular among Democrats and became a figurehead for school choice.
They then mention national union leaders Randi and Lili as possible Secretaries of Education.
I wonder who some of you would pick for the job.
For anyone who doesn't think it is important, recall how Arne Duncan didn't have to go through Congress to change federal education policy in a significant way. All the Obama administration did was to dangle federal money as a way to get the states to adhere to President Obama's pro-charter school, anti-public school teacher Race to the Top agenda that we are still paying for with the horrible evaluation system.
Concerning the election today, I hope it is decided sooner rather than later and decisively. If Trump wins again through the electoral college but loses the popular vote, that will be the worst of all outcomes for the country. As I stated in the comments the other day, a third Republican victory in twenty years after their candidate loses the popular vote will lead to many feeling we live under a Republican minority rule apartheid presidency. I don't condone violence to change our archaic political system even if many believe they are powerless. I prefer going the route of an action like a general strike. Something's eventually gotta give.
No matter who gets to 270 electoral votes, I fear a long-drawn-out election fight will be terrible for the USA, especially when COVID-19 is spreading again quickly.
Have a great time watching the results trickle in tonight. I didn't watch in 2016 because I had a sick feeling that something was amiss early that November evening so I sensibly went to bed and got the news all at once when I woke up early in the morning. I won't soon forget going to work the day after the Trump triumph, and with the exception of two or three people, thinking I was comforting teachers and students who were grieving the death of a close relative. Tonight, I feel uncertain about so much more. I'm just relieved to have my family and close friends.