Private schools in New York are better able to navigate byzantine COVID restrictions than those in the public system, and this is leading parents who really can’t afford private schools to risk their own financial futures for their kids.
The New York Post takes a look at some of these parents and describes what is happening in a story headlined “Parents Risk Going Broke Paying for Private Schools over Virtual:”
As a longtime supporter of New York City’s public schools, mom of four Rebecca never imagined she would need to educate her kids outside of the system.
But last month, the Queens-based nurse and her husband, a self-employed contractor, used a home-equity loan to pay a total of $36,000 in tuition for their three older boys, ages 6, 9 and 10, to attend a private school — solely because classrooms are open five days a week.
“Our jobs don’t give us the flexibility to be at home with the kids,” said Rebecca, who asked for her last name not to be published because of potential embarrassment over her financial situation. “Despite the cost and the fact my husband’s business is suffering in the economy, sending our sons to an in-person private school is the only option.
“It’s a huge burden, but you do what you have to do.”
Parents like Rebecca are cashing in on their 401(k)s and borrowing money to send their kids to private schools.
The education unions are a bulwark of the virtual-only model of learning, and they have a vested interest in keeping their teachers at home as long as possible, the better to bargain for more money and privileges and possibly to affect the outcome of the presidential election.
By contrast, private schools can hire non-union teachers, who are available to report for work (and who are not, like union teachers, being paid full salaries to preside over remote learning). Parents such as Rebecca are noticing:
Said Rebecca: “So many public school teachers got exemptions and are not showing up for work. As a nurse who worked in the ICU and ER at the height of the pandemic, it feels like a kick in the teeth that people are too scared to educate our kids.”
Meanwhile, educators in California report that they have not seen a connection in the reopening of K-12 schools and increased spread of COVID. The Washington Times reports:
Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s Health and Human Services secretary, told reporters that officials have been closely watching the return to classrooms in counties where it has been allowed. He said it can take time for trends to emerge, but so far, the results are encouraging.
“We have not seen a connection between increased transmission and school reopening or in-person learning,” Ghaly said. “We’re looking at the information to see if there is a connection and so far we have not found one.”
California requires counties to report coronavirus levels and infection rates below certain thresholds before they can allow K-12 schools to broadly reopen for in-person instruction. On Tuesday, 32 of the state’s 58 counties were deemed eligible to do so – up from 28 a week earlier.
The state has seen a broad decline in the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks. While some areas are seeing an increase in infections, the state’s overall case numbers have fallen since a surge over the summer following the initial reopening of various business sectors.
There is a difference between a healthy respect for COVID, which makes us mindful of precautions and commonsense, and an unrealistic panic that puts our way of life at risk. Who’s most at risk from shutdowns in public education? Kids whose parents, who might glad sacrifice for their children, but simply have to access to extra financial resources, that’s who.