Both of my children go to private schools—but different ones. And that means different types of learning.
My freshman has been going 5 days/week without fail to a Catholic school which caters to those in our Catholic community who do not always have the means to pay for school choice—we help subsidize that, and It’s something I’m proud of doing. He has flourished. His assignments are tough and thorough. He is growing academically, socially, and spiritually.
My oldest, a sophomore, however goes to a Catholic school that draws wealthier students. And after 2 days of school announced their switch to hybrid: two days in class, while his peers are at home watching live class (synchronous); switching time to two days where he is at home watching class (synchronous) on-line; then one day where they all just stay home and do studies outlined on their canvas platform. He is smart—but has always been an easily distracted pupil. These days he is less connected to learning; and with the sub-par interactive learning he is making less connections with the material. Thus, he has less comprehension and re-call of the information. How can anyone expect him to build on a foundation of sand?
He just told me today he wants to switch to go to the same school as his younger brother.
I’m proud of him for being committed to this change as I know it means a social transition which can be hard as a teenager. And I’m angry. As a medical provider, I recognized the lies the CDC told early on regarding masks—even as I knew they were doing it for me and my colleagues. But they failed to be honest: unless we all wore respirators we would only be limiting droplet transmission; that airborne—though perhaps not the main path of transmission—was still going to allow spread. And as an American, it was a risk I was willing to take in order to keep seeing my patients in the clinic, having income to feed my family, and yes, even risk my children being exposed by attending school—and likely a risk many of my fellow countrymen were willing to take! I also followed the science. And it told me my children would likely have no troubles with CoVID-19. And if I was willing to be exposed by working—and I was and am doing rounds twice a week at the hospital including CoVID positive patients—I was not worried about what they would bring to me.
Still I see the schools not following the science. My children were exposed to CoVID from their father’s parents first, and then by their father. I followed all guidelines and had them come from their father’s home to mine where my current husband and I practiced isolation techniques for them for 7 days, had them tested, and expected that in accordance to CDC guidelines would return to school. But my eldest son’s school stated he would need to be out for 14 days—increasing his days of synchronous learning without any in person classes, while my youngest son’s high school indicated he could come back after day 10–closer to the new CDC guidelines indicating 7 days and negative test or 10 days quarantine and no symptoms.
Perhaps it was this experience which made my eldest son decide he wanted to switch schools.
Our public schools have done some mix of learning like my eldest’s school. More recently, during Thanksgiving and extending through Christmas, a large school corporation closed the high school making them virtual as they had a lot of teachers—not students—out. And another corporation went to virtual because they couldn’t find school bus drivers willing to work! My heart goes out to those who either due to finances or districts and without school choice could not switch their child to a school that provided education to their child/children. None of this is based on science. Schools are safe for children. They aren’t super spreaders. And yet, due to our failure to grasp basic research; fear for ourselves (and I remember a time when parents WOULD and DID sacrifice themselves for their children); and petty politics we have sacrificed our children’s futures and America’s future as a competitor on the global stage.
School choice is an imperative for the success of our children and a right as a parent to ensure our children have the best possible start for their future and the collective future of America.