In Ruth’s prior post, she shared her concern for her daughter, a teacher facing the possibility of being forced to return to the classroom while the coronavirus is still out of control. I was very glad to get today’s post updating us on the decision her daughter’s school district has made. May more districts around the country come to such an intelligent decision.
by Ruth Roberts, the suburbs of Baltimore, MD
Two days ago, to our great relief, our school district decided to open by remote learning only in September.
Now, my daughter and her colleagues can plan the lessons they will use in September (not that they haven’t been doing that already!). Work has already begun to provide equipment to students without it. We are encouraging those with tablets or laptops they aren’t using to donate them, so the school can hand them out to kids in need. School districts ARE spending money to buy electronics, but guess what? Those affordable laptops and tablets are now in short supply. The reality is, school will open in September without all students having access to the equipment they need and working parents will still be scrambling to put together a plan for childcare.
Now, we can no longer ignore the inequities the pandemic has exposed: the lack of safe, low-cost childcare, safe school buildings, parental leave, sick leave, and affordable internet access for all.
Please let this be an issue you bring up at every opportunity with your legislators on the local, state and Federal level. Access to the internet is no longer a luxury, it is a NECESSITY. We must end the monopolies some suppliers like Comcast and Verizon have on certain geographic areas. We must bring service to rural areas too. This is an infrastructure issue, just like good roads and safe bridges. Our jobs, education, commerce and well-being depend on it.
Also, make it clear that funding for education needs to move to the top of the list, not the bottom. There will be gaps that need to be filled once the pandemic is brought under control and it will take funding to fill those gaps. More classrooms, building repairs, ventilation upgrades, more cleaning staff and supplies, more ability to conduct classes in a variety of ways so no child or teacher is at risk or without resources.
Teachers have been self-funding their work for a very long time. This is wrong. If we can give non-taxpayers like corporations billions of dollars, we can fund schools to the degree required to provide a safe learning environment for all kids and staff. All that’s required is the will to do it. Please vote for those who understand this is a priority.