I have far more respect for students than I do for school administrators


It gives me some hope for the future, it does. Students are leading the way and walking out of NY schools.

Students at several high schools in New York City coordinated a walkout from classes on Tuesday to call for remote learning as they protest what they say are unsafe learning conditions inside school buildings as COVID cases surged just as the spring semester began last week.

A campaign mounted by students and activists across some of New York’s best-known high schools – including Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech and Stuyvesant – led to a walkout shortly before noon on Tuesday.

While precise numbers were not immediately available, organizers estimated hundreds of students participated, with about 400 students walking out at Brooklyn Tech alone.

Those are smart students.

I’ve been busy revamping my upcoming genetics course for that kind of eventuality. I’m less concerned about the administration putting us in lockdown (if that happens, it means students are dropping dead in the hallways), or about a mass walkout by the students, than I am with individual students having to drop out for a few days or weeks at a time to deal with their own illness, or family emergencies. I know that’s going to happen. It happened last semester, it happened last year. It’s going to happen some more this spring. So I’m putting a lot of work into revising the course to incorporate more flexibility.

There’s a limit to how much flexibility I can program in, though. There is a breaking point where I’ll be the one walking out.

Comments

  1. birgerjohansson says

    “Dropping dead in hallways”
    If a stranger approaches you and asks “ARE YOU PAUL ZACHARY MYERS?” just remember to say “no, that is him” while pointing to a university administrator.

  2. whheydt says

    Local (to me) case in point….
    On Monday, my 13-year-old grandson came home with a note from his school that he might have been exposed to a positive COVID case last Friday. The school said he can continue to go to school. His mother–my daughter–said, “Nope. Quarentining at home for the balance of the CDC recommended 5 days and a test. If negative, he’ll be back on Thursday.” His teachers are fine with that and sent lists of materials he would work on from home (which he did, and then sent email to the teacher that he’d done the assignment).

    Having dutifully called in the absence to the school Tuesday morning, she got a message from the school later in the day saying he had an unexcused absence and if it there were more, he might be suspended. (Aside…suspension for missing school strikes me as about as counter-productive an action that could exist.) This morning, when calling the absence reporting line again, the voice mail box was full. Makes you wonder if anyone even checked it yesterday and/or there are a lot of students being kept home due to potential exposure. Alternatively, the school is too short-handed to clear the voice mail in a timely manner…due to too many faculty and staff being out for similar reasons.

  3. says

    I understand where you’re coming from, PZ. I think we’re in a situation, though, where there is no good solution because of capitalism. You made an important point in a recent post: “Also, public schools are not a baby-sitting service, even if some school officials think that’s their most important role.” But if schools aren’t baby sitting, then who will? Well, we know an unfortunate answer to that: their mothers. Not their fathers. Their mothers. As I would think you must be well aware (and so I’m not going to bother providing a link for this), women tended to have to quit their jobs during this pandemic to take care of their children in much larger numbers than men. By having kids learning from home, that’s just going to prevent women from returning to the workplace or perhaps result in some women who have rejoined the workplace to have to leave again.
    This is important not so that women are contributing to the economy (because, again, capitalism sucks), but because keeping women out of the workplace strengthens the patriarchy (which also sucks). If your opinion is that saving lives is more important, even at the cost of strengthening the patriarchy, I won’t argue with you. I really just want to make sure that people are aware that progressive issues like that will continue to take a hit the longer we shut things down over this pandemic.
    And, though I said I won’t argue if you think saving lives is more important, I still feel I must point out that the people’s lives we’d most likely be saving are those who have willingly refused to get vaccinated. I don’t think there is really any good excuse for kids over the age of 5 to not be vaccinated at this point. This is why I personally find it difficult at this point to support virtual learning: I just don’t see the people we’re trying to save as being worth the cost given that many of them have made their choice to risk death. Sure, that sucks for all the healthcare workers and whoever else has to go through extra stress for such people…I wish I had a solution for that problem.

  4. whheydt says

    Re: Leo Buzalsky @ #4…
    There are other solutions… I live in a 3-generation household. My wife and I are retired. Our daughter and son-in-law both work (though our son-in-law has been able to work from home nearly full time ever since the initial lockdowns). Because my wife has chronic health conditions (one of which has been recently diagnosed and will probably kill her sooner than later), I’ve been doing most of the oversight for our grandson. When schools are actually in person, I’m the one that sees to that he is up and out the door on time and in good order.

    The big problem I’ve noticed over recent decades, which may tie into whether or not one of the functions of schools is being a “baby sitting service” is that at least school administrations still seem to operate on the theory that there is a parent at home, full time. Further, the school administrations still seem to think that those stay-at-home parents are available as a volunteer labor force for the schools. I’m sure they know their own households don’t operate that way, but they’re still stuck in thinking that everyone else’s households do. There is a real disconnect there between what the schools think the situation is and the reality on the ground.

  5. beholder says

    If your opinion is that saving lives is more important, even at the cost of strengthening the patriarchy, I won’t argue with you. I really just want to make sure that people are aware that progressive issues like that will continue to take a hit the longer we shut things down over this pandemic.

    This should be a textbook example of the cynical application of identity politics to provide cover for an otherwise inexcusable policy of normalizing mass death. I applaud your propagandist elite handlers for coming up with that one.

    I just don’t see the people we’re trying to save as being worth the cost given that many of them have made their choice to risk death.

    What a callous conclusion. I hope no one ever puts you in charge of pandemic response.

  6. Dauphni says

    I just don’t see the people we’re trying to save as being worth the cost

    Just a bit of casual eugenics to start the day. Disgusting.

Leave a Reply