New York City lost 150,000 students this fall. They never showed up to school this September, and the Department of Education has no idea where those kids went.
150,000. That’s a big number. Everyday I get news about one cute girl who died in a Colorado dessert, but nobody cares about the 150,000 missing kids. In just one city. Imagine how big that number is across the country. I’m sure these kids aren’t dead, but they are educationally dead. They stopped caring about school. They’re working or watching little brothers and sisters, while the parents work. But they’re definitely not in homeroom at 8:00am. Without an education, those kids’ lives will be much more difficult.
Why isn’t this front page news? Why is the New York Post the only paper that covered this issue?
People cannot engage with serious news right now. The constant stream of bad news, stress, and panic from the Trump years and pandemic has ground everyone down. People are filtering everything out that is too serious, too real. They would rather read lies, as long as the lies are candy coated and up-beat. Real conversation has been exchanged for cringe-y Instagram stories by elected political leaders, who talk about their favorite brands of pens and lipstick shades.
TikTok dance videos for all!
Yes, most people avoid hard news, but I have never seen such nihilism and despair among the chattering class. They have written off big chunks of the population as losses, because the solutions are too expensive and too inconvenient.
Part of me wants to keep nudging people with reality. I can be the unpopular gadfly who pisses off everyone at school board meetings and on Twitter. I can write long treatises once a week in my newsletter. But another part wants to give up and just write Royal Family gossip stories.
Not sure how things will shake out.
PS. I love TikTok dance videos.