The Last Kid in the School: Teenagers are Staging a Quiet Boycott of Hybrid Education

The latest newsletter post is a re-write of this blog post…

As we walked through the strangely quiet streets of Manhattan last week, we were awed by the semi-permanent structures erected by restaurants to shield customers from the cold. Outside Chelsea Market, a Chinese restaurant installed an ingenious system of tubes that piped hot air onto the diners, who ate their pork dumplings in 20-degree weather. Those folks looked comfortable, so the tubes must have worked. 

The restaurant industry, despite draconian health and safety regulations, is serving customers — sometimes with jerry-rigged pipes – while our schools are losing students. 

Across the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey, my son’s school, like almost all schools in New Jersey and nearly half the schools in the country, is hybrid. To accommodate new cleaning regimens and small cohorts, students attend school for 8 to 12 hours per week and then watch their teacher and fellow students in little boxes on a Zoom call for another 10 to 14 hours per week. Kids with IEPs, like my son, get a little more time inside the school.

How’s it working out? Thirty students are normally enrolled in my son’s pre-calculus math class. With hybrid instruction, enrollment has been cut in half to 15 students, but today, the number of students in the room is one — my kid. My kid is the only student sitting in math class today. 

Read more here.