A friend sent me this post from Joe the Shutdown Karen of Fairfax County:
To our fellow FCPS families, this is it gang, 5 days until the 2 days in school vs. 100% virtual decision. Let’s talk it out, in my traditional mammoth TL/DR form.
Full disclosure, we initially chose the 2 days option and are now having serious reservations. As I consider the positions and arguments I see in my feed, these are where my mind goes. Of note, when I started working on this piece at 12:19 PM today the COVID death tally in the United States stood at 133,420.
“My kids want to go back to school.”
I challenge that position. I believe what the kids desire is more abstract. I believe what they want is a return to normalcy. They want their idea of yesterday. And yesterday isn’t on the menu.
“I want my child in school so they can socialize.”
This was the principle reason for our 2 days decision. As I think more on it though, what do we think ‘social’ will look like? There aren’t going to be any lunch table groups, any lockers, any recess games, any study halls, any sitting next to friends, any talking to people in the hallway, any dances. All of that is off the menu. So, when we say that we want the kids to benefit from the social experience, what are we deluding ourselves into thinking in-building socialization will actually look like in the Fall?
“My kid is going to be left behind.”
Left behind who? The entire country is grappling with the same issue, leaving all children in the same quagmire. Who exactly would they be behind? I believe the rhetorical answer to that is “They’ll be behind where they should be,” to which I’ll counter that “where they should be” is a fictional goal post that we as a society have taken as gospel because it maps to standardized tests which are used to grade schools and counties as they chase funding.
In other words, the public school Shutdown Karens imagine that rich kids in private school won’t be working and learning! (see https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2020/05/20/massachusetts-private-school-students-zoom-ahead/ for the educational gulf that has opened up in Maskachusetts between public and private school children; see nytimes for how low-income students of color are the Shutdown Karens’ biggest victims).
How do people in the third richest country in the United States deal with numbers?
FCPS has 189,000 children. .0016 of that is 302. 302 dead children are the Calvary Hill you’re erecting your argument on. So, let’s agree to do this: stop presenting this as a data point. If this is your argument, I challenge you to have courage equal to your conviction. Go ahead, plant a flag on the internet and say, “Only 302 children will die.” No one will. That’s the kind action on social media that gets you fired from your job. And I trust our social media enclave isn’t so careless and irresponsible with life that it would even, for even a millisecond, enter any of your minds to make such an argument.
Out of more than 8,000 people (average age 82 and 98 percent with “underlying conditions”) killed in thoroughly-plagued Massachusetts (population 7 million), exactly 0 have been under the age of 20 (dashboard). Yet the 1.1 million rich government workers, contractors, and lobbyists of Fairfax County are going to experience 302 extra deaths among children (equivalent to over 2,000 for an MA-sized population). (Of course, if they still believe the March dogma of Flatten the Curve, a 10-year school shutdown won’t have any effect on the infection/death rate among children; the same number of infections and deaths will simply be spread out.)
I’m kind of amazed at the lack of imagination and lack of expectations among the subjects of American government. Our theory used to be that the U.S. had liberty while the Chinese had competence. They had the Shanghai Metro while we had complete freedom of speech, assembly, religion, etc. Our liberties are mostly gone, subject to the potentially arbitrary decisions of state governors (the perfect example of a “a government of men rather than a government of laws”) and of the mob (getting people fired from jobs if they don’t worship at the churches of BLM, #MeToo, and the Rainbow Flag). The Fourteenth Amendment is gone, with students being entitled to an education depending on their skin color. But nobody insists on receiving competent government in return. For example, if the Karens of Fairfax want their brats to be spaced farther apart in the schools, why can’t the schools rent more space? With retail going bankrupt and office buildings shut down, would it actually be hard for every school to double its physical size? The Chinese built a hospital for 5,000 people in 10 days. A U.S. school system can’t rent a bankrupt Sears store’s old space given six months to negotiate? And then drive to IKEA for some desks? Keep in mind that Fairfax is insanely rich by U.S. standards (thank you for paying your federal taxes!).
- https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2020/05/21/plague-proof-florida-and-texas-with-shaded-outdoor-classrooms/ (by shifting their school year, Fairfax County could actually run school outdoors in the shade for at least 6 months per year)
- “OC Board of Education Panel Calls for a Fall Return to Classes with No Masks or Distancing” (Voice of OC): The recommendations also sought to give parents options, calling remote learning an “utter failure,” and allows parents to send their children to a new district with every day in class instruction. … One of the experts on the panel – which included a county supervisor and the head of Orange County’s Health Care Agency – was quoted anonymously as saying, “This is a disease that kills our most elderly and spares our children. It may sound callous, but would we want it the other way around?”