Yesterday afternoon, tornadoes and tropical winds swept up the Eastern seaboard. They snapped trees in half and downed powerlines.
The power turned off in our house just as I was typing out a blog post here and downloading my camera. It was a really great blog post. Probably the best ever. And it’s lost to the world.
Right now, I am working on an iPad-mini using my iPhone as a hotspot. This will work for a little while. Steve is seeing if he can get a temporary desk at one of those freelance labs downtown, because the rumor is that we won’t power until the 9th.
There’s a lot of chaos going here at the moment. I managed to drain the battery on the car overnight. I had plugged in my devices to charge them up. I brought them in the evening, but I forgot to take the keys out of the ignition. Ooops. The workers, who are fixing the flooded ground floor, helped us jump the car this morning.
In the midst of all this, I decided to blog, because I’m worried. I hate to be a Cassandra, but I don’t think things are going to well in September. Everyone here should do what they can to protect their families and themselves.
I spend a lot of time reading the tea leaves on Twitter. Last week, I also dived into a teacher’s subreddit. I am very nervous. (No links because I have to write quickly before my iphone loses power and because I don’t want to alert people that I am lurking.)
I think that there’s going to be a teachers’ strike in the fall. The teachers are pissed off. They don’t want to go into the schools. They are mad that they aren’t getting the support from parents. They don’t think that they’ll have enough protective equipment to teach safely, but still want a full salary.
The teachers are right; parents are not going to be sympathetic. In my district, 85% of parents said that they wanted in-person school in the fall. And everybody is demanding more live zoom classes, when school is not in session. Parents are bone-tired, and annoyed that they are working and teaching their kids to read at the same time.
The problem with a teachers’ strike at this point is that it won’t matter. If the plan is that kids will only go back for a couple hours per week of in-person instruction and the middle class kids are all being tutored on the side, is anybody going to even notice a teachers’ strike?What happens when the teachers strike and nobody cares?
Even if a teachers’ strike doesn’t happen, September is not looking promising. Schools are releasing super complicated plans for the fall. Group A goes in for four hours every other day, while Group B does worksheets and watches youtube videos.
Virtual education isn’t going to make any progress. Teachers don’t want to do live classes or learn how to use Zoom or spend their summers rewriting classes. The schools don’t seem to be doing any professional development this summer. Whatever teachers did this spring, they’ll do again in the fall.
Want to hear more good news? No? Too bad.
Private schools may be forced to shutdown, because some groups aren’t happy that they are staying open, while the public schools close.
Schools are going to shutdown, even those lame hybrid plans, as soon as a cluster of kids gets sick locally. And that just happened in the town where Ian goes to school. A prom party infected 20 kids in that very small community. We’re screwed.
Meanwhile, choice activists are gathering steam. Anytime that I write anything vaguely negative, they retweet me. I will still say what i have to say, but I know I’m feeding the storm.
I’m prepping. I have Ian’s math needs locked down now. I have two teachers secured for reading, but haven’t put them on the calendar yet. Both boys are learning to code in JAVA and Python through MOOCs and private online tutors right now. We’ll keep that up into the fall. Ian is on a new epilepsy medicine, and he looks healthier than he has all year, so that makes our situation feel less dire.
Of course, if the schools fail, then the problems will be bigger than my kid’s knowledge of trigonometry. The economic repercussions and societal ills are going to be very, very painful. I think we have to find some radical solutions. I think we need a national education plan.
UPDATE: Public schools in Chicago will start remotely in September (and probably the entire year). NYC is the only large city that is still planning on going back part time. This is a disaster for the neediest of kids. We either need a national education plan or a plan to help individual families.