Opinion Does the Covid pandemic spell the end of public schools?
NAACP sues DeVos over CARES Act aid rule change that would give more money to private schools
The NAACP is suing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over a pending rule change to CARES Act funding that would require the country's public school districts to give private schools more relief aid provided by the multi-trillion dollar coronavirus stimulus package.The complaint, which was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, alleges that DeVos illegally changed the parameters under which the $13.2 billion Congress allocated for the nation's schools is distributed. The money is part of a larger fund known as the Education Stabilization Fund that was created when President Trump signed the CARES Act into law in late March.
We might be entering the last days of public education in America. The United States, which led the world in expanding access to public education to boys and girls in the 1800s, is poised to become the first rich nation to abandon that commitment as longstanding political efforts to undermine public schools meet the existential threat posed by the coronavirus. As privileged parents determine what to do if schools are closed or online this fall, their individual choices could, in the aggregate, presage a shift away from public education and back to the market-based private education that predated it.
Florida Covid-19 cases in children: Hospitalizations among kids jump 23%
Just weeks before schools must open across Florida, the numbers of new cases and hospitalizations due to Covid-19 have surged. © Mario Tama/Getty Images EL CENTRO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 21: Clinicians care for a COVID-19 patient in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at El Centro Regional Medical Center in hard-hit Imperial County on July 21, 2020 in El Centro, California. Imperial County currently suffers from the highest death rate and near-highest infection rate from COVID-19 in California.
Public schools have been under threat for decades, as leaders in both parties pushed for school choice, charters and vouchers. That effort has gained renewed steam under the Trump administration. Even before the pandemic, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made providing public funding for families seeking to opt out of the public system a priority. But the pandemic offers her an opportunity to impose disruptive change. As public schools struggle to determine whether they can safely reopen and take on new expenses associated both with moving online and preparing their campuses for safe access, the Department of Education under DeVos has soughtSouth Carolina’s Republican Gov. Henry McMaster to encourage parents to abandon public schools.
Coronavirus hospitalizations among children rise by 23 percent in Florida
Coronavirus hospitalizations among children in Florida rose by more than 20 percent over a period of eight days in July, as schools prepare to reopen across the state despite a sustained surge in infections. Florida health authorities on Monday released data showing that 303 children below the age of 18 were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of July 24. On July 16,246 children had been hospitalized due to the disease, marking a 23 percent increase, CNN reported. Cases among children also experienced a significant surge. According to the Florida Health Department, 31,150 confirmed cases as of July 24 were children.
Rise of alternatives to public schools
These decisions by federal and state leaders are being made at a moment when parents are in an impossible situation. Because President Donald Trump ignored the virus and bypassed government scientists, the United States, unlike other wealthy nations, has lost control over the pandemic and is heading into fall with cases rising. Public schools have not been offered sufficient guidance nor funding to open safely. And in the context of a pandemic, many parents are wary about sending their kids to school in any case. Moreover, given that, despite heroic efforts by our nation’s educators, the quality of online education last spring left much to be desired, it’s not clear whether parents will send their kids to public schools online either.
Medical group says 'hundreds of thousands' of COVID-19 deaths possible if 'nation does not change its course'
A medical group warned Wednesday that hundreds of thousands of more people could die from the coronavirus in the U.S. unless the nation adjusts its response to the pandemic."In just six months, nearly 150,000 Americans have lost their lives to COVID-19, with more than 4 million infected by the virus that causes it. Cases continue to rise at an alarming rate across much of the United States. If the nation does not change its course - and soon - deaths in the U.S. could well be in the multiples of hundreds of thousands," the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) said.
For privileged parents, this means thinking about alternatives for the fall. Some are considering homeschooling. Others are forming private “” or “ ” with neighbors and friends to share responsibilities and curricula. And others might choose , which because they are tuition-driven and do not have the same problems of scale, may be open.
As parents opt out, could we see eroding support for public education? Based onas a historian of American education, I fear so. The reason is simple. In a country that has long been hostile to big government, public schools succeeded because almost every family was a stakeholder.
At the time of the American Revolution, education was not considered a public good. Parents were responsible for educating their own children. But, many Revolutionary-era leaders argued, a democracy requires all citizens to be educated, and this requires providing tax support for new public schools.
Effects of the pandemic on education: the UN fears a "generational catastrophe"
HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-EDUCATION: Effects of the pandemic on education: the UN fears a "generational catastrophe" © Reuters / DENIS BALIBOUSE EFFECTS OF THE PANDEMIC ON EDUCATION: UN FEARS OF "GENERATIONAL DISASTER" by Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday expressed concern over the to the closures of schools around the world due to the coronavirus, "a disaster that affects an entire generation", and felt that the safe return of students to cla
Americans then were skeptical. Many were unwilling to pay taxes to educate other families’ children. Tax collectors sometimes faced physical threats when they went out to collect school taxes! Although American leaders — Thomas Jefferson among them — spoke eloquently about the need to equalize access to education, their words were not enough. It was not until a critical mass of Americans started sending their kids to the new public schools that schooling really took off. As more parents sent their kids to public schools, others wanted in. And over time, the bulk of families in a community had a reason to pay taxes for public schools: Their children or grandchildren attended. In short, public support for.
Necessities for public school to succeed
Advocates of public schools knew that they would only be successful if most parents were invested in them. Public schools turn each parent’s interest in their own child into a collective investment in other people’s children., secretary to the Massachusetts Board of Education in the 1830s and one of the 19th century’s leading advocates of public education, worried that if privileged parents did not opt in, then public schools would never succeed. If privileged families “turn away from the Common Schools” and send their children to a “private school,” then, Mann argued, poorer children would end up with a second-class education.
Reopening schools: Goldman Sachs says parents are the next risk group to lose their jobs
The new school year is just around the corner and parents and teachers are fretting about returning to the classroom during the pandemic. Economists are worried, too, because a lack of childcare could damage America's recovery.The new school year is just around the corner and parents and teachers are fretting about returning to the classroom during the pandemic. Economists are worried, too, because a lack of childcare could damage America's recovery.
Similarly, anconcluded that public schools will only succeed if the majority of children attended. If wealthy families opted out, public education would be considered charity instead of a public good.
We are at a moment of reckoning. Thepublic schools were closed was when Southern states sought to avoid integration. The goal then was to sustain racial inequality. Even if today the aim is not racist, in a system already rife with economic and racial inequality, if families with resources invest more in themselves rather than share time and money in common institutions, the quality of public education for less privileged Americans, many of whom are racial minorities, will deteriorate.
Pandemic and schools:
In short, as families are forced to make tough choices in the context of America’s botched response to the pandemic, individual choices might collectivelyand undermine Americans’ commitment to public education itself.
Johann Neem, author of "," teaches history at Western Washington University.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
260 students and 8 teachers quarantined in Georgia school district after first week of school .
At least 260 students and eight teachers from a suburban school district in Atlanta, Georgia, were quarantined after multiple students and teachers tested positive for Covid-19 during the first week of school. © Cherokee County GA School District/Facebook Students in Cherokee County, Georgia, returned to the classroom on Monday, August 3. In statements posted on its website, the Cherokee County School District reported positive cases in at least 11 students and two staff members. Students and staff who had possible exposure with a positive case have been told to quarantine for two weeks.