"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." – Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Vaccine for Teachers, Shortages, and The Shock Doctrine


Anthony Fauci: ‘Get Teachers Vaccinated as Quickly as We Possibly Can’

Teachers were acclaimed as heroes when the pandemic lockdowns occurred in March. They adapted quickly to new technologies and new circumstances. That changed quickly, however, when people (and the media) realized that not everyone could stay home with their children and help them learn. Getting the "kids back in school" was a high priority. Teachers, apparently, are essential workers after all.

The CDC has guidelines for reopening schools which include making sure that everyone has sufficient PPE, that the school is well ventilated, and that no one, staff or students, should come to school if they test positive or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID. That means, if a school can't follow those guidelines (and others) it's not safe to reopen.

Meanwhile, teachers unions are fighting for the health and safety of their members and their members' students. Our public school infrastructure is not the best and many schools don't have adequate ventilation, especially older buildings. Most schools don't have the resources to make sure that all their students are COVID free before they enter the classroom...nor do they all have extra money to spend on PPE for their teachers and staff members.

So teachers unions are getting blamed for "insisting that those lazy teachers stay home and get paid for not working." Meanwhile, teachers and students continue to test positive for COVID.

And in Indiana, teachers, noted by the CDC as essential workers needing vaccines ASAP, were skipped when health professionals and first responders were vaccinated.

If we really want schools to open shouldn't we be willing to pay to make them safe for students and teachers?

From Anthony Fauci, quoted in Education Week

“We’re not going to get back to normal until we get children back into school, both for the good of the children, for the good of the parents, and for the good of the community,” he said. “We want to make sure we do that by giving the teachers and the teams associated with teachers the resources that they need to do that. The idea of, ‘Go do it on your own'—that doesn’t work.”

Making sure schools can reopen safely is a personal issue for him, Fauci added: His daughter is a 3rd grade science teacher in New Orleans.


27% of teachers are considering quitting because of Covid, survey finds

This is from December 2020. The teacher shortage isn't going away.

We were already losing teachers at an alarming rate before the pandemic hit. Now, with uncertainty about school funding and uncertainty about classroom safety, many teachers are calling it quits.

From CNBC Make It
The coronavirus pandemic has put significant pressure on America’s teachers. Some have been asked to weigh risks to their personal health and teach in person. Some have been asked to teach from behind computer screens and perfect distance learning. Many have been asked to do both.

These pressures are taking a toll on teachers across the country.

According to a new report, 77% of educators are working more today than a year ago, 60% enjoy their job less and 59% do not feel secure in their school district’s health and safety precautions. Roughly 27% say they are considering leaving their job, retiring early or taking a leave of absence because of the pandemic.

“Before the pandemic, large numbers of U.S. educators were already leaving the profession due to the financial pressure the job puts on their lives,” reads the report. “Then COVID-19 came along.”


Americans United Gears Up To Oppose Private School Voucher Bills

The pandemic has the country in an economic as well as a medical uproar. Social unrest related to political upheaval has added to the chaos. In this atmosphere, it should come as no surprise that "edupreneurs" want to get their hands on the billions of dollars spent each year on public education.

Across the country, state legislatures are starting their legislative year with bills focusing on transferring public funds to private and privately owned (aka charter) schools.

To add to the trouble, public schools are hemorrhaging teachers as the normal stresses of being a teacher in the 21st century are compounded by the stresses of the pandemic, virtual teaching, combination teaching, and teaching without proper equipment.

The loss of professional teachers is a plus for the privatizers. As states come to the conclusion that there aren't enough professional teachers for their students, they'll weaken certification requirements allowing untrained or poorly trained people to take charge of classrooms -- because of course, anyone can teach. This weakening of teacher professionalism will lead to lower pay for those in the classroom and weakened teachers unions - a definite plus for those who want to profit from the economic challenges faced by the country.

Enter "Disaster Capitalists" as described by Naomi Klein in her 2007 book, The Shock Doctrine. The crisis in education can only be solved by the private sector. Hence the pressure on legislatures to give public dollars to private schools and CMOs.

From Americans United for the Separation of Church and State
We know that private school voucher programs are bad public policy for so many reasons, including that they funnel desperately needed funds away from public schools to private, mostly religious, schools. And public schools face unprecedented financial difficulties right now because of COVID-19. There are increased costs to offer virtual learning and make sure in-person classes are safe for teachers and students. At the same time, states are cutting public school budgets because of decreased revenue. The Learning Policy Institute estimated that COVID-19 has cost public schools between $199 billion and $246 billion. Lawmakers should not drain additional money away from public schools – which 90 percent of our students attend – in the middle of a pandemic.

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