Our new Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona penned an op-ed for USA Today, headlined “Here is my five-point plan to get students back into school full time.”
Only, Cardona’s plan is actually a blueprint on how NOT to reopen the schools any time soon.
Can you imagine what the first entry in his five-point program is? I bet you can. Instead of telling the teacher unions to go back to work, Mr. Cardona plans to host a national summit on reopening the schools.
The Secretary realizes that what we need is more experts:
First, we’ll convene the experts. The Department of Education will host a national summit on safe school reopening this month that will bring students, teachers, families, community organizations, and school leadership together not only to get the critical feedback we need to make reopening as seamless as possible for students and staff, but also to work together to solve problems. We’ll also talk about and hear from leaders about addressing the academic, social and emotional needs of students. Because it’s not just enough to get our students physically back to school. We have to support them.
I love getting “critical feedback.” As if parents and students haven’t made it abundantly clear that they are desperate to resume classes. But it is always good to “work together to solve problems.”
Number two on the impressive five-point program, Mr. Cardona proposes that, presumably after the big summit, school officials can talk some more. Or, as the Secretary puts it, “We’ll share best practices about the incredible work already happening in our schools.” Since so many schools are shut and online learning has been a dismal failure, this might not take too long. But folks do like to talk, so you never know.
Number three: a handbook!
To quote the Secretary:
“We’re getting to work right away on the second volume of the ED’s COVID-19 Handbook. It will provide schools and educators with practical, research-based strategies to help effectively meet the social, emotional, mental health and academic needs of students; address the loss of instructional time; bridge the digital divide; extend learning time; stabilize the education workforce, and much more.”
Fourth, that the DOE will “collect better data about how schools are operating during the pandemic.” I hear they are not operating all that well, but collecting the data is probably something we should do before reopening the schools, no?
And now, we’re getting into the home stretch—number five!
This can be boiled down to two words: more money.
This could mean “hiring more staff”—but you saw that coming, didn’t you?
The federal government already has made substantial outlays of funds for reopening the schools, but so far it hasn’t inspired unionized teachers to go back to their jobs. But, by all means, let’s spend more. After all, those green pods to individually enclose kids for band practice don’t come cheap.
Mr. Cardona ended his impressive, five-point program with a pep talk:
For all of the hardship and heartache this year, I firmly believe that we — and most of all, this rising generation — can emerge from this challenge stronger.
Not bloody likely. Many kids have been irreparably harmed by the school closures. The only way to alleviate the massive harm is to get schools open asap, before we inflict any more damage on this rising generation.
This is a five-point program to stall.
And another thing, as an educator, Mr. Cardona should know that this is just busy work. Hasn’t any teacher ever told him not to pad his homework?
This five-point program is five points of padding.
Here’s a math quiz: If Susie is in the third grade now, what grade will she be in when schools finally complete the Secretary’s five-point plan for not opening the schools anytime soon?