Public Education On The Edge Of Collapse

Public Education On The Edge Of Collapse

Public Education On The Edge Of Collapse

The shutdown of schools across America, both public and private, has thrown the lives of parents into an upside-down struggle. And now, in the name of safety, the Centers for Disease Control are nearly guaranteeing the destruction of public schools in the United States.

They don’t mean to, of course. After all, public schools are the government-run and government-approved schools. But right now, every single parent across America is homeschooling. We are all getting a look at the shortcomings of curriculum, bureaucracy, and the people involved. While some teachers have risen to the occasion and tried their absolute hardest to attend to the educational and mental well-being of their students, there are some teachers who are just mailing it in. And there are kids and families that are mailing it in as well. The situation, as it stands right now, is not a sustainable one.

States and school districts, now that most have been shut down for the remainder of this school year, are frantically trying to assess how the next school year will look in an age of “social distancing” and mask wearing. And then the CDC just released guidelines on school reopening.

After reading the guidelines and suggestions, I have to ask: has ANYONE at the CDC ever MET a child??? These guidelines – which are apparently being tossed to the states by the CDC as they say “so long, and thanks for all the fish!” – are designed to make school a socially-distanced nightmare. Just look at these examples of the “guidelines.”

Modified Layouts
– Space seating/desks at least 6 feet apart when feasible.
– Turn desks to face in the same direction (rather than facing each other), or have students sit on only one side of tables, spaced apart.
– Create distance between children on school buses (g., seat children one child per row, skip rows) when possible.

Physical Barriers and Guides
– Install physical barriers, such as sneeze guards and partitions, particularly in areas where it is difficult for individuals to remain at least 6 feet apart (e.g., reception desks).
– Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signs on walls, to ensure that staff and children remain at least 6 feet apart in lines and at other times (e.g. guides for creating “one way routes” in hallways).

Recess at the elementary level now sounds like it will consist of everyone marching in a circle, masks on, six feet apart, and no touching the playground equipment or talking to friends or… PLAYING.

The CDC probably broke out in hives watching the above video because people are marching too close together.

Despite all the science that says children are particularly resilient against COVID-19 (while the ability of children to pass on the virus is in dispute), and the CDC’s own updated guidelines about the “half-life” of the virus on surfaces (it’s apparently unlikely to get you sick, so we can stop wiping down our Amazon boxes), districts are in an absolute mess. Some, like Washington D.C., are looking at only opening up for a couple of days a week, and still keeping students (many who don’t have online access or involved parents) at home other days – with the ever-present threat that anything that is planned for in the fall could be instantly shut down if a “second wave” comes.

With so much instability in the offing, on top of the burdensome CDC requirements, is it any wonder that the frustration of parents is growing? Some are just going to opt to homeschool next fall to avoid the chaos and to take greater control of their child’s education. Others are going to go to the next level – if they can afford it.

At the rate the districts and the CDC are going, the only kids left in public school will be the kids whose parents can’t afford to get them a private tutor/governess, the kids whose parents are not involved to begin with, the kids whose parents need the public school for childcare/meal purposes, and special education kids. And if you think teachers’ unions were down on homeschooling before, wait until public school enrollment drops nationwide and districts start losing real money over decreased enrollment. The best part? The unions will have no one to blame but their local government. The longer the school shutdown continues, the more parents are going to make other plans. Public education in the United States may have been unintentionally killed by government.

While many may rejoice in that, there are some very hard negatives that come along with that consequence – usually in the form of the most vulnerable being left behind. There are very real problems in public education, and I am a definite advocate of homeschooling. But more importantly, I am an advocate of parental choice. If I choose to send my child to a public school, I want to make sure they get a quality education (after all, my tax dollars are paying for it). What public education looks like after this pandemic is anyone’s guess. But if school districts and teachers’ unions begin to serve the best interests of children in their desire to keep enrollment up, all because parents feel better equipped to become their child’s teacher at a moment’s notice, so much the better.

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  • njc says:

    More likely no one to blame but the (blue) state governments. There’s a video on youtube about the Battle of the Bulge in which the speaker, in dress kilt and speaking in Scottish accent, says of a German general “He couldn’t organize a stag party in a distillery!” ( That seems to be the baseline Blue-in-the-Face state performance.

  • Rick Caird says:

    I foresee the return of the neighborhood one room schoolhouse. By that I mean a group of parents will get together and decide to group school their children. They will hire people to do certain things like Math, English, and then do the subjects they can do themselves. If you have ever seen the “exit exams” from the turn of the century (1800’s to 1900’s), you will know the public schools now are way behind and will never catch up.

  • CDMc says:

    You’re exactly right Rick,
    Here in Saint Paul, we’re hiring a full-time licensed teacher for the year. Putting together a curriculum based off the Italian public school curricula (we have roots there). Unbelievable how much more in depth and Western Civ. oriented it is. 9 kids, split amongst grades 5-8, third floor of our house with homemade lunch, 10k per kid.

  • Jack_of_Spades says:

    If I choose to send my child to a public school, I want to make sure they get a quality education (after all, my tax dollars are paying for it).

    …then you have a problem, since, wherever you are, the public schools are what they are and good luck changing them while your children are school age. The only way to make sure your children get a quality education is to move someplace where the local schools provide it.

    • Deanna Fisher says:

      Since three of my four children are in special education, we made the quality of the public schools one of the highest considerations when we bought a house. That decision has paid off in stellar programs and teachers, all of which are currently doing their best in this pandemic.

  • Don Sheehan says:

    The idea of hiring a full-time tutor/teacher for her four kids is brilliant. What’s private school? 30-40k a piece? The parent’s could have that cost and have control over the direction of their education.

  • Ghost Who Walks says:

    Compulsory public “education” is the most important part of The Communist Manifesto. Let us hope that Covid has killed it dead. Read anything by the late John Taylor Gatto.

  • Bronx says:

    This is a great post. Another wonderful side effect is that many students are seeing school for what it is: a time wasting scam that can be done better while unshackled. This is a reaction from one of my students to a ‘distance learning’ post on John Taylor Gatto. Her world was shaken and the scales fell. There is more of this going on than the Cathedral can possibly stop.

  • Russ Wood says:

    South Africa’s school year starts in January (southern hemisphere, y’know), and stopped DEAD in March. Now, the government is arguing with the teacher unions about not only when to restart, but WHETHER. It could be possible that the entire year could be canned, and all the grades repeated. But with the new kids starting next year, this will make a lump of double the pupils (‘learners’ as the government calls them) moving through the schools from first year to last. I don’t reckon that the ANC government (and the unions – who are PART of government) have thought the whole thing through!

  • Mark Matis says:


    But the tribe will not tolerate any such thing. They yearn for the “good old days” of their Messiahs – Lenin and Stalin.

    Now THERE were leaders who knew how to run a country!!!

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