Classrooms not zooms

We’ve seen many cases of interesting new learning techniques brought on by the government-mandated school closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the most interesting of them all is the “Zoom-in-a-room.” It’s exactly as it sounds — you sit in a classroom and interact with your classmates via Zoom, even though some of them may be sitting right beside you. Add on to that the masks, six feet of distance (sometimes more!), and plexiglass fortifying you into your own bubble.

“Zoom-in-a-room” learning is pointless. And California high schoolers agree.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the “Zoom-in-a-room” option for in-person learning being used by schools in Los Angeles and in San Francisco “has failed to draw back the majority of students.” No shocker there. Why go to school when learning at home in your pj’s is just the same? Find a high schooler who wouldn’t turn that down.

The LA Times goes on to say that “despite detailed planning, the majority of secondary school students in California’s large districts will end their year much like it began — fully online, according to state data. For many, it will mean 17 or 18 months away from classrooms.”

Eighteen months away from the classroom? How is it that “despite detailed planning” students are still out of the classroom? Could it be that someone besides the school district is calling the shots? 

Emails obtained and given to the New York Post reveal that the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), had major influence on the school reopening guidance released in February by the CDC. They reveal:

The powerful teachers union’s full-court press preceded the federal agency putting the brakes on a full re-opening of in-person classrooms, emails between top CDC, AFT and White House officials show.

The documents show a flurry of activity between CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, her top advisors and union officials — with Biden brass being looped in at the White House — in the days before the highly anticipated Feb. 12 announcement on school-reopening guideline.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, nationally, and here in Minnesota, the teachers’ union has been fighting tooth and nail to keep schools closed and kids out of classrooms. Now they’re fighting against state testing so that data won’t show how much school closures have put students behind.

“The lobbying paid off,writes The Post, and it continues to pay off. At the expense of a generation of America’s youth.

The fight to free education policy from the greedy hands of the teachers’ union drags on. Time and time again they show that they are really not “about the kids.”

Where is the science and data behind keeping schools closed? Where is the evidence that shows “Zoom-in-a-room” learning actually stops the spread of COVID-19? Because that’s the point here, right? Or is it?