NROP: We don’t need no education.

Over the weekend, I asked one of my family members if there was anything specific they thought their kid would need/want for their upcoming birthday. “It is back to school season,” I got as an answer. For a brief moment, I pictured a variety of backpacks, binders, and smart clothing. Then, I realized we were in the year 2020 – the coronavirus year. “Are they going back to school?” I asked, unsure of the recent news on education. “Heck, yea!” I heard in reply. While it was somewhat feasible for kids to stay at home in March, things have changed since. Then, the parents got to stay home, too, whether furloughed or working from home. Now, workplaces have reopened, pulling many of those people back into the office.

Several weeks ago, I wrote an article on Parenting in Times of a Pandemic. Even back then, I was aware of the strain school closure put on families. Now, with the new school year approaching, we are reminded of those issues even more.

In the state I live in, each county came up with their own plan, best suited for their region and population. Some districts conducted surveys to see how parents would like to handle the new school year. As you can imagine, the results were mixed. Most schools will give parents the option to either send their kids back to school full-time, enroll them in virtual learning full-time, or to mix and match.

We have been talking about privilege quite a bit in recent weeks. There is a new privileged person in town, namely one that has the option to keep the child at home. During my most recent work conference, I was informed that employees have been slowly returning to the office and will continue to do so. While I was not surprised to hear that, it was a bit of a change in tune since the last few calls, which highlighted the “new normal” of supporting those who loved working remotely. When asked what they would do with their kids this coming school year, the president of the company said they would enroll their kids in virtual learning since one of their family members has a complicated health history. “I am glad you have the choice,” I thought to myself, remembering those that do not. You cannot enroll your child in online studies if you are required to go in to work and do not earn enough to pay someone to watch your kid. I truly empathize with those who do not think they have an option.

As I write this, I think of all the people that I know that believe COVID-19 is a hoax. Do I personally know someone who was symptomatic and tested positive? Yes. Have I had it? I never got tested, so I do not know. While I do not condone freaking out about the virus, I also follow the mask/6ft guidelines when in public. Has the world changed? Definitely. But maybe some changes are positive? (See: Traveling in Times of a Pandemic)

Some people are afraid of heights, but I am not. Do I tell them that their fear is stupid? No. Of course, I might try to help them break through their fright, but there is only so much I can do. Most of us fear something others might not. Why should the fear of catching COVID-19 be any less real? (Review my post on the Psychology of Fear).

Having established that COVID-19 is not going anywhere for the foreseeable future and that some people are petrified of the virus, let us circle back to the new school year. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos emphasizes the need for kids to go back to school in the fall while some question the decision for reopening the schools. They are worried about children getting infected and spreading the virus to the elderly and those with more complicated medical histories. They worry about hot spots and community outbreaks. Betsy DeVos and her supporters argue for the necessity of education among the young ones.

The truth is that the education our kids got during this pandemic (remote learning) does not compare to the one they would have gotten at a school if everything was normal. Many children got to basically skip school for a couple of months. While I believe in giving the young ones the time to play, I also think that not having school can have a detrimental effect on them for years to come.

As bloggers, we know how hard it is to get back to writing after a hiatus. Imagine how difficult it will be for kids to go back to learning.

DeVos calls on schools to reopen but leaves specific planning down to individual schools, which I think is a good idea. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this conundrum. We cannot keep kids from fighting and bullying. How will we ensure that they are 6ft apart at all times? The classrooms are not big enough to accommodate that. Yes, there are challenges that many people face with the pandemic. However, if you have been in the corporate world for longer than a day, you know that a challenge can also be an opportunity. We have the opportunity to come up with a “new normal.”

Another reason why some are up in arms about the “back to school” directive being pushed by DeVos is …money. Madam Secretary said that schools which will not reopen might not receive funding. Instead, money might be redirected to support families in those school districts. Frankly, I do not see how this can be polarizing. If a school is not open and educating kids, then why should it receive money from the government?

If parents are returning to work, what will kids do if the schools remain closed? That scenario is simply not feasible for most families in the US.

  • Is COVID-19 forcing us to rethink societal norms and family dynamics? Are we going to go back to having one parent work while the other stays at home to watch/teach the kid(s)?
  • How are schools dealing with reopening where you live?
  • Are you going to send your child(ren) back to school in the fall?
  • If you were in charge, how would you have the schools reopen? If at all.

Stay golden,

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62 thoughts on “NROP: We don’t need no education.

Add yours

  1. Great post Goldie 🤗 I don’t envy the schools being faced with so many decisions. No one knows what the outcome of any decision will be. My youngest is 16 and they still don’t know what’s happening with the schools.
    The world has definitely changed. My thoughts are with all the families being faced with this challenging time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that’s exactly the problem – we don’t know what will happen if we choose the surprise behind door A, nor B. Everyone’s worried of making the wrong decision and then having to deal with the consequences.

      Good to hear from you, Mare!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a conundrum. My kids have barely touched a book since march, and when they do, well, you can say they do that only under duress 😉
    But schools here will open next month, and we’re on our second wave already. I want my kids to learn, or at least not forget what they learned, but I have a health condition. Do I dare send them anyway, or do I let them lose this year?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. … which highlights the primary purpose of school… to babysit children.

    We focus so much on cramming children’s minds full of “learning” that we forget that it’s the techno-industrial machine that we’re feeding fresh souls to when we follow such regimens.

    If we were to treat schools like a year long summer camp, doing, exploring, socializing, cooperating, we’d end up with much happier people by the time they’re twenty. They just need to be monitored and looked after in the interim.

    It’s the Man who thinks children should be turned into economic cog-wheels. What happens in fifty years when 50%+ of all work is done by automation? In 100 years? “I studied hard all my life,” says the 18 year-old valedictorian. “Now what will I do? There’s no work for me.” — Welcome to the future dearie.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I totally agree with the fact that schools don’t really prepare you for the real world. We’re taught plenty of things that we don’t really need.

      However, I’m not sure if turning school into a summer camp would be a good idea. I enjoy people with whom I can converse about different things. How are kids supposed to find out what their passion is if we choose for them?

      But you are right that the schools have largely turned to daycares.

      Well, 100 years from now will not happen until 100 years from now. We should totally adjust our curriculums as the years pass, but to get rid of the current learning altogether? Madness!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My son earned a Bachelors of Sci in Psychology. He earns money making sandwiches and posting ads to his Instagram accounts. Great use of 20 years of education. And it’s only gonna get worse.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s true. I know from personal experience. However, I do not regret going through all that education. While I can be bitter at times about it, I often remind myself about all the other things that benefited my life because of it,

          Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s definitely going to be a tough year for education. The other day, I started wondering about babies and how they adapt to parents/others wearing a mask. After all, most of their own upbringing is based on facial recognition of emotions! Half our faces are usually hidden in public! As for kids having to change how they learn… I know everyone has their own way, some learn better while listening, others writing, others through visuals, and if their education isn’t adapted to it, many will struggle incredibly! 😮

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This is a fascinating topic. I remember reading about babies with mothers who use Botox. It’ much harder for them to learn about emotions from someone who can’t move a part of their face. Thankfully, we don’t wear masks at home so we should be fine on that front.

      I also thought about emotions in adults in the era of masks. I went to church the other day. Everyone was required to wear a mask for the duration of the mass. When it came to share the sign of peace with other parishoners I looked around and waved (social distancing). Waiving is now in place instead of handshakes. Even though I wore a mask, I still smiles when I saw some familiar faces. Aside from more expressive body language (waving), I noticed that it is still possible to separate those who smile underneath their mask from those that don’t. You know how you can tell if someone’s fake smiling? (No change in/around eyes.) So, even with masks on, I can still figure out what a person is feeling by looking at their eyes.

      But… will we evolve into people who fake smile 100% of the time? Will we stop grinning because we know it can’t be seen?

      Sorry for the monologue. I just find this topic rivetting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No worries on sharing those observations! I too find those subtle changes truly fascinating. I used to be one to never know if the cheek-kiss salutations was welcome or not and now don’t even need to think of that anymore too ahahha It is a bit sad that we are stripped of more subtle emotions and facial expressions though. Everything just feels more monotone and lifeless now and it’s why I can’t imagine how some babies must be feeling as they grow in this era with so much less social interaction. One thing’s for sure, the whole epidemic has changed the world. Up to us to decide if it’s for worse or better…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I was at work the other day (we have to wear face masks and other PPE at our medical practice all the time) and a patient who we were treating said to us, “You don’t really believe coronavirus is real do you?” I was baffled. Do we think it is real? If it is not real then what on earth have we been treating these past few months???

    Trying to dignify the patient, I replied regardless of our personal opinions, as NHS employees we have to follow NHS directives.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. ❤ there is something very real sending a lot more patients our way ❤

        There are so many different opinions flying left right and center, I wouldn't try to tackle them, but all I know is that my job has been tougher than ever before for months.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I wonder what kids these days actually learn at school.
    I used to believe everything the teachers said, but these days you can easily check the internet to ensure the teacher “knows their stuff”.

    Self study should be a possibility these days?

    I highly doubt I’d send my child to school.
    Other than learning the language, school was useless for me. I cannot not pretend I am feeling grateful for all the years of being bullied I had to endure.

    In fact, my dad taught me all the advanced basics of the subjects I was interested in (maths and science).
    And since he was into history, he wouldn’t lecture me, but just tell me a lot which was more educational than what I learned at school.

    I would love to home school.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good question… I’ve said it before – I am glad to be past my school years.

      I think young kids need guidance and supervision but can mostly learn on their own.

      For me, school wasn’t perfect, but I do think it was beneficial to me overall. I might have told you that before – I always enjoyed tutoring. Home schooling doesn’t sound that bad providing you have the time to do it.


  7. I have many educators in my family and I can tell you they probably worked twice as hard during the pandemic than they did during regular classes. It’s not easy to try and keep 25 kids up-to-speed as an elementary teacher or 100+ kids up-to-speed as a middle/high school teacher when it all has to be online. Kitchen crews in a lot of places still made breakfast and/or lunch for children’s families to come by and pick up, or in some cases, teachers made drop-offs. These people really earned their salaries this past spring, especially since most had never been trained for this kind of teaching environment and had to come up with things on the fly. They should be given bonuses, not have money held back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. From the other side of the barricade, I’ve heard that teacher show up online for a few minutes and then leave the parents with a “to-do” list. In the corporate world, we have virtual meetings without a problem. I envisioned remote learning as exactly that. You still teach what you were supposed to in class, but via the Internet. You have a kid that disturbs your class? You no longer have to deal with them. Instead, you just mute them and continue on your merry way. Yes, true story.

      People from different industries had to adjust. You’re right – it’s a sad reality that those who deserve bonuses for going the extra mile are not shown appreciation. But that’s life. Nothing new. And no one is talking about not paying them for the past. It’s about additional funding for those who do not perform in the future. Why would they receive more/the same as those who are fully working and risking a lot more?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Because they are fully working, just in a different way and have contracts.

        The teachers in my family said they learned fast you can’t teach the same way. They said it’s like doing a play vs doing a movie. There has to be a lot of adjustment for the medium.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Is COVID-19 forcing us to rethink societal norms and family dynamics? Are we going to go back to having one parent work while the other stays at home to watch/teach the kid(s)?
    Yes, in response to Q 1. I doubt it, in response to Q 2. Even in my childhood (way back in the 70s and 80s), the shift to two income households were more the norm in order to support a “better” lifestyle—I don’t see that changing, because many people aren’t interested in sacrificing their own “living standards.” I think we’ll see people with more flexible work schedules, and more people working from home at least part of their work week. In a two parent home, I see the load being shared more than in earlier eras.

    How are schools dealing with reopening where you live?

    Similar to your area, but nothing has been “finalized” yet.

    Are you going to send your child(ren) back to school in the fall?

    N/A—my kids are adults.

    If you were in charge, how would you have the schools reopen? If at all.

    I think adjustments need to made differently in jurisdictions where there are no big issues with COVID-19 infections versus those with major issues. It can’t be a one-size fits all approach. That said, I think providing options so parents can decide what’s best for their personal situations is the best way to go. Options like you already discussed, but also thinking outside the box, like breaking up physical attendance days into different “tracks.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You describe the ideal – flexible working hours from home so that parents can alternate taking care of the kid(s). But that arrangement is not going to be possible for many as some jobs (or even employers) require for people to be present at their workplace. And if a child is to stay home, then the parents would need to get a babysitter or a tutor. A governess lol. Then, we enter the debate of it being more cost efficient for a parent not to work.
      I do like your view about shared responsibilities, though.

      Yes, I think options are good.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You didn’t say we had to be realistic, or even consider EVERY situation. That said, you’re right—I don’t have proposed solutions for every situation, nor will I. Hopefully others have ideas and all ideas will be shared to come to some sort of consensus.

        You’re also assuming people aren’t already (or won’t) leave their kids unsupervised altogether—like us latchkey kids from the 70s and 80s. What the DHS doesn’t know won’t hurt ‘em, but you’ve gotta know your neighbors won’t rat you out first. Where was DHS when we were kids?

        Shared responsibilities ought to be a must, at least in those homes where sharing is an option. While I was a single mom, I relied very heavily on friends and family to help support my kids (physically, not monetarily), and REQUIRED my employers to allow me to have a flexible schedule. If an employer was inflexible, I opted to not work for them at all. Priorities.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I just like to discuss things for the sake of seeing different angles. Sorry.
          Like you said before – one size will not fit all.
          And yes, absolutely, things were different when we were kids vs. now.
          Priorities. Thank you for reminding me about that.
          Stay golden!

          Liked by 1 person

  9. We are almost back to normal here, but school is the last asterisk for many. I don’t have young kids, so no issue for me on a personal note. I do know that it’s a thing for many people according to comments on news posts and such. I’m torn when it comes to getting back to normal from a work perspective. I have lost my job permanently as of two weeks ago, and have found myself in purgatory. I’m in limbo right now when it comes to COVID and have no idea how to look for a job in a pandemic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a feeling that’s what happened. Again, sorry to hear that. I can’t imagine how tough it must be. Get your ash in gear and work on your backup plan.
      I wouldn’t know where to start, either, but heard that unemployment claims in the US are dropping so maybe there’s hope…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you! This means a lot. It should ok, I’ve never gone long without a job. It’s just intimidating with a clock holding you to it. I had a plan b lined up and the government screwed it up. But, I’m coming out of the fog and feeling myself again. Working out has been huge for me. Just going to take things slow and do everything right and with patience. It will come. The is for being a shoulder.

    Liked by 1 person

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