One thing is certain about the coronavirus response: it’s left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths about public education, its bureaucracy, its teachers, and their unions. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:
As teacher unions fight to keep schools closed, the true cost is being felt by students who are racking up failing grades, dropping out of virtual classes, increasing drug use, and, in rising numbers, committing suicide. In response, some union officials like the President of the Los Angeles Teacher’s Union has labelled calls to return to class examples of white privilege despite overwhelming science supporting resumption of classes. However, for minority students, this shutdown has taken a dire situation and turned into a freefall disaster. The pandemic led to the closure of an already failing public school system, as evident in a shocking story out of Baltimore. As recently reported, a high school student almost graduated near the top half of his class after failing every class but three in four years. He has a 0.13 GPA. His mother finally went public in exasperation with the failures in the public schools.
Tiffany France is understandably upset. She is a mother of three who works three jobs to support her family. She was never told that her son failed 22 classes and was late or absent 272 days over his first three years of high school. She was called for only one teacher-student meeting and that meeting never occurred at Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts.
France ultimately had to pull her son out of the school and enrolled him in an accelerated program to allow him to graduate in 2023.
For decades, we have spent huge amounts of money in school districts like Washington, D.C. and Baltimore as these cities and their leaders have failed to address these failures. We have had a lost generation of kids who have neither the education nor the trained skills to succeed in society. Yet, there is no accountability for the political and educational leaders in these cities.