School is a train wreck, but it's not the district's fault

posted by Jeff | Monday, August 10, 2020, 10:30 PM | comments: 0

Today was the first day of school here in Orange County, remotely, and by most accounts, it sounds like it was largely a train wreck. For Simon, even a virtual first day was going to be stressful, but he takes on the additional burden of being troubled by kids who don't mute and technology that fails. Diana had to distract him with other things several times while they worked out the kinks.

Parents in particular are angry, some are shouting "in person at all costs!" and still others are struggling to make anything work while working. The truth is that there are no good options in a country with no vaccine, no testing and certainly no contact tracing. None of this is the school district's fault, or the teachers. I think it's important that we give everyone at the local level a little grace, because they're doing the best they can, and without any money to do it. There is no playbook for this.

On the other hand, in Florida we can certainly blame the state, which has famously pretended the pandemic was no big deal, and worse, tied the hands of the districts until as recently as a few weeks ago, when they could have been making better plans months ago. And of course, the federal response has been an even bigger shit show. The failure of leadership has been deadly and dramatic at all levels except the local level, where they've done the best they could with nothing extra.

Venting aside, raging against the machines won't improve anything now, so we're probably better off finding ways to help our teachers tomorrow. If there's a societal fault to the pandemic in America, it's one of selfishness, so let's not keep doing that. We all have to give a little, look out for each other, and generally accept that convenience as we know it will mean something different for awhile.

I think it was Kennedy who said, "Ask not what your school can do for you, but what you can do for your school."


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