Wednesday, July 15, 2020
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Reopen The Schools
Many of you with children or grandchildren might disagree with me, but I believe it is imperative that our schools fully reopen this fall. Perhaps you are conflicted about sending children back to school, which is a normal impulse under the circumstances. We all love our children and grandchildren and want to protect them.
You're also hearing a nonstop mantra that we must "follow the science," which is a cudgel being used to attack the administration. Many are intentionally trying to frighten you because they believe it is to their advantage to keep America closed as long as possible.
So let's walk through the science because I assure you that the people demanding our schools remain closed are not following the science.
The Claim: Some say it is impossible for children to be socially distanced in school. Others contend that younger children will not want to wear masks for hours at a time.
The Facts: Children do not have to be socially distanced or wear masks because very few children are seriously harmed by the virus. The Wall Street Journal noted this week that "30 children under age 15 have died from Covid-19. In a typical year 190 children die of the [seasonal] flu."
The Claim: Another argument against reopening schools is that children will spread the virus to teachers, parents and grandparents who could be seriously harmed.
The Facts: Based on evidence from multiple countries around the world that have had serious Covid outbreaks there is very little evidence indicating that children in schools were the source of outbreaks.
The science shows that children are extremely inefficient spreaders of the disease. One European study that examined more than 35,000 people declared, "We have not found a single instance of a child infecting parents." A German study found that children "act more as a brake on infection." (Here's even more data.)
This week NBC News interviewed five pediatricians from across the country and asked each one if they would let their children go back to school. Here are their responses:
"I will. My kids are looking forward to it."
"Absolutely. As much as I can. Without a hesitation, yes."
"I have no concerns about sending my child to school in the fall."
"I would let my kids go back to school."
And the American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued guidelines "strongly advocating" that the primary goal of local school districts should be to fight the coronavirus while also making sure that children are "physically present in school."
Putting Politics First
Many of those insisting we "follow the science" are ignoring the body of science about the negative impacts of children not being in school. The isolation of children from classrooms and their friends is causing massive spikes in psychological problems. (Here, here and here.)
Children from low-income families are often missing out on the meals they get at school. School is the place where child abuse is often discovered by teachers and counselors.
Research shows that online learning, which many school districts were unprepared for, was a failure. One study found that students finished the last school year with roughly 70% of expected reading gains and just 50% of expected math gains. And 20% of students simply don't have access to the technology needed for online learning.
Our children are falling behind the children of other countries because they are being banned from the classroom. Many children are filling the hours at home unwatched on social media and the Internet, which presents all kinds of dangers.
Sadly, some teachers' unions are exploiting this crisis for raw partisan purposes. For example, the Los Angeles teachers' union is demanding $12 billion in new property tax hikes, $15 billion from new wealth taxes, more taxpayer money for illegal immigrants, Medicare for All and defunding the police! How is that putting kids first?
I know that some of you may feel differently, understandably motivated by the desire to protect your children from risk. But life is never risk-free. More than 4,000 children die each year in various unintentional accidents such as drownings. And as I just explained, I feel we are exposing our children to more risks by keeping the schools closed.
On a positive note, given the degree of indoctrination that takes place in far too many public schools, more parents are now considering homeschooling. For those who can do it, homeschooling or a faith-based private school is certainly a good alternative.
But on balance, I think our schools should reopen. If you disagree, I'd love to hear from you. Maybe you have some points I have failed to address or information I don't have. Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts with me.
Liberals vs. Progressives
If there were a Pulitzer Prize for resignation letters, Jewish journalist Bari Weiss would win hands down!
Make no mistake about this: Weiss is a liberal's liberal. She defines herself as a "left-leaning centrist." But like so many liberals, they've been so busy resisting Trump that they have not noticed the rising totalitarians on the left.
In a blistering letter explaining her abrupt resignation from the New York Times, Weiss blasted the paper's "new McCarthyism," its anti-Americanism, its "illiberal environment," and its craven appeasement of the progressive Twitter mob.
Weiss said her progressive colleagues called her a "Nazi," a "racist" and complained when she was "writing about the Jews again."
None of this surprises conservatives. But it is another reminder of just how intolerant the progressive left has become. When there is no room for genuine debate at the "paper of record," free speech in America is in jeopardy. And that threat, as Goya's CEO noted, is coming from the left, not the right.
One could see hope in Weiss's courageous stand, but every day we're watching academia, corporate America, professional sports and far too many politicians cave to the progressive mob and retreat as fast as their shaking legs will allow them.