The global coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc on our way of life, our economy, our politics, and with school about to start for most Americans, it is about to change how that institution works as well.
Reportedly, one-third of Alabama’s school systems will start fully online and two-thirds of schools will open with in-class options.
Each school system has these options at their disposal, and the local systems should do what they feel is best.
Parents, however, are at the mercy of elected officials and school administrators who more often than not will defer to the whims of the all-powerful education associations that still dominate local, state and federal elections.
The Alabama Education Associaton (AEA) is still around and still a player. In spite of their lack of popular support, Republican and Democratic politicians bow to them.
And why shouldn’t they? These groups are still able to motivate teachers and generate campaign contributions.
Is the AEA as powerful as it used to be? Obviously not. Is it still strong? Yes, very.
The school systems that have completely shelved the beginning of the school year for an online-only option are now leaving some parents in a lurch with young kids at home and no way to teach them and earn an income themselves.
But if you are an educator, you are in luck. The school systems are working to provide teachers with the ability to bring their children to school.
Huntsville City Schools has not made this choice yet, and wouldn’t you know it, but teachers are rather annoyed by this.
(Note: I shared the following posts on Facebook and many of those involved were aghast that their Facebook posts were shared, so I will just quote them)
I have 3 littles and am waiting to hear from the district so I can plan for them. You are right, when teacher mommies and daddies know that their own personal children are cared for, it makes it so much easier to go above and beyond for the children of others.
Could it work that teachers could bring their kids, The kids would be disbursed to the appropriate grade and taught in class. Mom would teach her grade level and when school is over they would go home. Their kids would be the lucky ones.
Have you heard anything about our educators, who are teaching remotely, being able to take their school-age children to their classroom? They only have a few days left to make plans.
These teachers will be allowed to bring their kids to work, and they will get what they want.
Parents? Deal with it.
Your “littles” aren’t “the lucky ones.”
You “mommies and daddies” don’t need the assurance that your “children are cared for” so you can perform.
This is embarrassing but telling. They have the stroke and they call the shots.
And why shouldn’t they? Alabama schools are 51st out of 50, so give them more power. Help kill the school year for everyone and then demand the school systems take on the responsibility and liability — and there is a liability here — so teachers can keep working.
Yes, yes, what about those babies?
The decision-makers are risk-averse, but they are also in a situation where they want to take care of the teachers.
But this is not the only concern at play.
Alabama’s political leaders should demand a special session be called to allow all parents who want their children to have the opportunity to be enrolled in an in-person classroom to have that option.
If the local school district says “no school for nine weeks,” 85% of the monies spent on their child should be given to the parents to make other plans.
This is the same percentage of money parents who take advantage of the Alabama Accountability Act receive, which teachers and their politicians hate, too.
But that’s how this works: perks for them but you just take what they decide.
What kind of assistance can this provide?
Private school? Parenting pod? Hiring childcare?
Make the parents produce receipts to get the money. It is unacceptable that the leadership has left actual parents out in the cold like this.
Something should be done for these parents. Unfortunately, nothing will be done unless your kids are one of the “lucky ones.”
Educators and politicians have left parents and students out on this one, so when this is all said and done, don’t be surprised if the push for vouchers and school choice grows.
Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN