We’re in the middle of a very bitter, very fraught battle over whether or not public schools should reopen in the fall as the nation tries (and fails!) to contain the spread of the coronavirus. From what we know, the disease spreads fastest in close quarters, making the reopening of schools a potentially deadly experiment.
Still, there are plenty of people, including state leaders and the White House, determined to return to “normalcy,” even at the cost of lives. It’s a messy situation with no perfect options but what’s becoming increasingly clear is that in this debate, where zealous leadership has ignored scientific warnings for political gain, the voices of teachers and school workers are not being prioritized.
To help amplify their concerns, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, whose mother is retired school teacher, penned a passionate yet reasoned defense of teachers, arguing that the health and safety of kids and teachers need to come first.
In his monthly column for The Atlantic, Grohl argued against opening schools back up come fall.
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America’s teachers are caught in a trap, set by indecisive and conflicting sectors of failed leadership that have never been in their position and can’t possibly relate to the unique challenges they face. I wouldn’t trust the U.S. secretary of percussion to tell me how to play “Smells Like Teen Spirit” if they had never sat behind a drum set, so why should any teacher trust Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to tell them how to teach, without her ever having sat at the head of a class? Teachers want to teach, not die, and we should support and protect them like the national treasures that they are.”
Grohl also noted that remote schooling came with its own challenges, and pointed out just how ineffective his own style has been.
I know this because I have three children of my own, and my remote classroom was more Welcome Back, Kotter than Dead Poets Society. Like I tell my children, “You don’t really want daddy helping, unless you want to get an F!” Remote learning is an inconvenient and hopefully temporary solution. But as much as Donald Trump’s conductor-less orchestra would love to see the country prematurely open schools in the name of rosy optics (ask a science teacher what they think about White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s comment that “science should not stand in the way”), it would be foolish to do so at the expense of our children, teachers, and schools.
You can read his entire essay here.
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