Open The Schools

Written by Bill Thomas on December 23, 2020

Unless a miracle happens on January 6th, we are looking at the prospect of a Biden-Harris administration. There are hundreds of reasons why that sentence should cause panic in the average American taxpayer and citizen, but today I want to focus on what I believe is an ongoing tragedy that will have ramifications for years. Keeping schools closed is robbing our children of needed educational and emotional support. In my mind, it is disgraceful conduct.

Let’s make it clear. COVID-19 is real, and people get sick and sometimes die. However, the evidence shows and has shown for quite a while, that elementary school kids do not spread the virus. So, why do they remain closed for in-person learning in so many places?

The answer is clear. It’s a political calculation.

Nikolas Kristoff, no fan of President Trump, wrote on November 18, 2020, “Democrats helped preside over school closures that have devastated millions of families and damaged children’s futures. Cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., have closed schools while allowing restaurants to operate.”

In the same column, Kristoff quotes LaShondra Taylor, an English teacher in Broward County, Florida, who said, “I have taught at the same low-income school for the last 25 years, and, truly, I can attest that remote schooling is failing our children.”

I personally know this to be true. In Kansas City, Kansas,  where I grew up, the Board of Education voted on December 1 to continue virtual learning through April 2021. Though it’s been a decade since I’ve lived there, I still have friends and family in KCK. The kids in the district from which I graduated have not been in their schools since March of 2020. Parents there are struggling to make ends meet in a challenging time while trying to facilitate their children’s education.  The kids in my old neighborhood need to go back to school.

Kristoff notes the importance of kids going to school. He quotes the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Children learn best when physically present in the classroom. But children get much more than academics at school. They also learn social and emotional skills at school, get healthy meals and exercise, mental health support and other services that cannot be easily replicated online.”

There doesn’t seem to be much hope for a lot of school kids, though. Joe Biden is vowing to keep the schools closed another one hundred days after his inauguration!

Who is to blame for this appalling situation?  I don’t blame individual teachers. I know many who are eager to be with their students and are as angry as anyone about how things are. I do, though, blame the liberal teachers’ unions. They have been opposed to opening schools for quite a while and have opted to see the issue through a political lens.

There is also blame to be had for Democrat politicians, mayors, governors, and school board leaders, who seem to be more interested in furthering their political careers than they are in the well-being of kids. It is vital that we, the American people, spend the time to know what’s going on in local elections.  School board members, council members, and commissioners make decisions that affect all of us. We can’t afford to let the response to the 2020 election be retreat.  We have to engage, at every level, to win back this country.  It can happen, one legal vote at a time.  If for no other reason, we must do it for the children.

 

 

Bill Thomas
Bill Thomas lives in Washington, Missouri and is a professor at St. Louis Christian College. He's also on staff at First Christian Church in Washington, Missouri. He's authored two novellas, From the Ashes and The Sixty-First Minute published by White Feather Press of MI and three Bible studies, Surrounded by Grace, The Critical Questions and More and The Road to Victory published by CSS Publishing of OH.