Parents May Sue For Private Schools Opening
Parents May Sue For Private Schools Opening
As the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year quickly approaches, many parents are being slapped across the face with the worst kind of news. We’re all going back to online school.
Despite the overwhelming evidence that online school last spring was a collective failure, the teachers’ unions across the country are more than happy to pull a paycheck while staying home, doing whatever their school district deemed the bare minimum. And many are looking to repeat the experience again this fall, by claiming simultaneously that they are “essential,” so school opening depends solely on the consent of the teachers’ union, and yet they are so essential that they cannot possibly be exposed to any dangers. They can’t go back to the classroom (the will-writing, body bags, and obituary writing is really annoying to all those grocery store clerks and Amazon delivery drivers who have worked all the way through the shutdowns), and now they can’t possibly be expected to stare at a computer all day.
— Scot Bertram (@ScotBertram) July 29, 2020
I speak from personal experience here – we had some very good teachers who made every effort to reach out and help – and actually teach – during the school shutdown this last spring. And we had some very bad ones who barely bothered to grade an assignment or hold a single online meeting. And I kept the receipts. Regardless, the teachers’ unions are enjoying their moment of control by requesting insane things like “defunding the police” and “Medicare For All.”
This has resulted in a lot of parents scrambling to figure out what they will do this fall. Working parents, especially those in “essential” jobs, are in a particular bind. In a completely tone-deaf move, multiple jurisdictions from New York City to Austin to South Pasadena have decided to use school buildings for childcare (which the parent will then have to pay for, thank you very much, though Mayor Bill de Blasio claims that NYC will provide the child care for free, though they will likely run out of space for all the kids who actually need care). So, many parents are looking into withdrawing their kids to homeschool, or looking into private schools, or creating “pods” or “microschools” where a small group of similarly-aged children can be taught by one teacher – and the parents will pay for it. While people wail and wring their hands about “inequity” in such plans, they fail to recognize that this is the position that the teachers’ unions, local school districts, and municipal governments have put parents in. This is educational time that children cannot get back. Last spring opened parents’ eyes to the realities of what public schools could offer in an emergency. They were weighed and found wanting. So parents have started taking back control, often by turning to the private sector.
Last Friday evening, Montgomery County in Maryland announced that they were shutting down all PRIVATE schools until at least October 1st. Parents were livid. Governor Larry Hogan says he disagrees with the decision, but has not yet made any moves to overturn the situation. If left in place, this could destroy many smaller religious private schools, who depend on the revenue from tuition to pay the bills. And it’s pretty clear why this decision was made.
— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) August 2, 2020
Well, the parents involved are now looking at filing a lawsuit.
Officials said that “nonpublic schools” are defined as any school in Montgomery County not affiliated with MCPS, including private schools, religious schools and independent schools.”
“We were very blindsided as the parent body. I have not spoken with our principal yet, but as a parent body we were extremely blindsided,” Joyce Kraus Dyer, a Mary of Nazareth Catholic School parent and HSA President said. “Our staff has been working tirelessly over the summer to come up with a cohesive plan to be able to introduce our children back into school, which they’ve obviously been missing since March 13. It was a 19-page plan.”
Dyer said she isn’t the only person upset by the announcement, she said some parents are in talks of taking legal action on behalf of private schools.”
“We have a group of three over 3,000 now,” Dyer said. “Since yesterday morning we have a group of parents that are across Montgomery county in private schools and we are joining forces to represent the private schools. We really do feel that it’s an overreach of the Montgomery County health officer to tell us that we cannot open, especially when we are meeting the CDC guidelines and the state regulations that the superintendent has set forth,” Dyer said.”
If that lawsuit was made a class-action suit, guess who would be able to join in? That would be the parents of Barron Trump, as his school, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, is under Montgomery County’s jurisdiction. Can you imagine what would happen if the President and First Lady joined in a class-action lawsuit to reopen private schools? They would have the standing to do so. I’m thinking that media heads would explode and faces melt off à la Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Even if the Trumps don’t join in the potential lawsuit action, Governor Hogan needs to put his money where his mouth is. If he disagrees with the decision, then he has the power to override it. Even the head of the CDC agrees with opening schools. The parents deserve a choice, especially after going to all the effort to get their schools ready to open. What should make all parents worry is that even with CDC guidelines and private schools making adjustments, local officials and state governors may take it upon themselves to close private schools in the name of “equity.” After all, government is all about making everything suck equally, including education.
UPDATE 2:00 PDT
Well, it looks like Governor Hogan has intervened.
I have issued an amended emergency order ensuring that local schools and school systems retain the primary authority to determine when to safely reopen their facilities. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/DGcF5EBxx6
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) August 3, 2020
Good for him for stepping in to fix this for the parents of Montgomery County.