Candidates line up for opening on Mankato School Board
The conventional wisdom has it that school board meetings have become so contentious, even dangerous, that new candidates will be scared off, afraid to run for the position. The media…
Governor Walz has issued an executive order “authorizing the Commissioner of Education to take action to improve the education of Minnesota students during the 2020-2021 school year.”
Included in the EO:
Where is the guidance to schools to prioritize in-person instruction for all students because data show that schools are not the major super-spreaders once feared to be?
Where are the references to the growing evidence that schools can open safely with reasonable precautions and that it’s time to stop politicizing COVID and return students to classrooms where it make sense to do so because their health and wellness depend on it?
Where is the guidance to “follow the science” that, according to multiple studies, shows no significant transmission of the virus among children or from students to teachers?
We know that continued school closures will only further exacerbate academic achievement gaps and economic and health disparities, and disproportionately harm low-income students and students of color. Here’s what else we know, adds Dr. Chester E. Finn, Jr. with the Fordham Institute:
We know that millions of parents’ lives have been dealt extremely damaging blows by having to forego their jobs and other obligations in order to care for their out-of-school children. We know that there’s ample guidance about how to reopen schools in ways that minimize the risks to the health and safety of both children and adults.
We also know that hundreds of schools and school systems are actually doing this. When the Washington Post surveyed the country’s fifty biggest districts a couple of weeks back, it found that “twenty-four have resumed in-person classes for large groups of students, and eleven others plan to in the coming weeks…. Four more have opened, or plan to open, for small groups of students who need extra attention.” Many private schools are managing this, too, including both day schools and fancy boarding schools. So are lots of charter schools.
Rumor has it that Minnesota school superintendents have a 10 a.m. conference call with Governor Walz this morning.
Will they discuss the numerous best practices schools across the United States have taken to successfully and safely resume in-person learning that schools in Minnesota could try? Or will partisan politics, far more than science, continue to shape school decisions and keep schools shuttered, as this new working paper suggests is the case?