"In Defense of Our Teachers..."
July 22, 2020 8:01 PM   Subscribe

My daycare completely rebuilt the building in order to re open, glad someone is mentioning that re opening is really a massive infrastructure mandate
posted by eustatic at 8:20 PM on July 22, 2020 [4 favorites]

I love how much Dave loves his mom.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:33 PM on July 22, 2020 [6 favorites]

Massive unfunded infrastructure mandate!
posted by potrzebie at 8:33 PM on July 22, 2020 [13 favorites]

Dave Grohl on remote learning in the Fall

For a second I was imagining him doing a drumming audition for Mark E. Smith on Zoom
posted by Beardman at 9:01 PM on July 22, 2020 [29 favorites]

In addition to the usual summer doctor checkups and car maintenance and other summer errands, my significant other said we needed to get our wills figured out before I return to school this year. Honestly I should have had one already because, you know, school shootings... but it is a grim item on my to-do list before returning to in-person learning in a few weeks.

I understand very much that state and federal governments have mis-played their hands and are leaving working families with no other option than to send their children to school. I also painfully understand that public schools are the only safe refuge for a number of students, and the thought that children are alone in unsafe and/or abusive environments makes me ill. I also very much resist any framing that places the education debate as staff's needs vs. students' needs. Staff and student needs are aligned; any attempt to squeeze incrementally more labor from staff negatively affects student learning. At the end of the day, I do think staff needs to accept a higher-than-average risk to care for students ... with proper supports.

But man... now my loved ones have to write their wills so I can do this job? That's a really hard pill to swallow. I appreciate that Dave Grohl lends his voice to that element of the debate, especially to some of those details that are the most difficult to implement. He can do so because he has the privileges to keep his kids at home, and I appreciate that he included his voice instead of quietly opting his children out.
posted by lilac girl at 9:40 PM on July 22, 2020 [24 favorites]

With all the "tax cuts" that have defunded the teachers and school districts, it feels like a game of chicken. "How long do YOU want to spend teaching your kids at home?" Because it seems teachers are saying "Fuck This" to going back to the classrooms, while the districts are worrying about all the lawsuits they are going to face. Interesting times. Pretty sure the teachers are holding the hammers though.

EDIT: And the teachers are right. They never took the job expecting doing it would present a fatal risk to their families, and to public health in general. I think my high school age son didn't get a great last semester of education, and worry about what he will receive going forward. But the lack of any respect for what is actually happening, and the consequences to public health, and teachers health is unconscionable.
posted by Windopaene at 9:40 PM on July 22, 2020 [12 favorites]

Because it seems teachers are saying "Fuck This" to going back to the classrooms, while the districts are worrying about all the lawsuits they are going to face.

Keep in mind that Republicans are insisting that any new stimulus bill must have a liability shield for employers, so you can say goodbye to any lawsuit leverage that workers might have.
posted by JackFlash at 10:00 PM on July 22, 2020 [8 favorites]

Yes, I realize Republicans are bad-faith actors. I don't think they are going to get what they want, given it's an election year. They more they fight for crap like this, the more the public, actually suffering from the pandemic, sees their shitty solutions, the more chance Democrats have to win the Presidency, and maybe the Senate, which is the real game changer. Imagine Moscow Mitch losing, and what that would mean.
posted by Windopaene at 10:12 PM on July 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Massive unfunded

More important than money is time. Teachers' time is not valued, as they are being sent to their death.

Grohl's writing about the time his mom takes to care for that many people's emotional, mental, spiritual development, it s moving. Much of teachers' time goes uncompensated. It s hard to think of another occupation like that, where large amounts of uncompensated hours are just expected. Even construction workers get overtime regularly, and wage theft, although common, is not the expectation. Other caring professions, like waitstaff or nurses, have the emotional labor, but you can clock out.

The USA culture doesn't respect teachers' time, nor most or all workers' tme.

But people, even the children who are in power in Florida and Texas, understand that takes a long time to build stuff. Talking about re opening as a massive infrastructure project frames it in ways that can get through to capitalist jagoffs.
posted by eustatic at 11:30 PM on July 22, 2020 [23 favorites]

My wife is a teacher. I'm severely asthmatic. Thankfully her district has decided to go virtual in the fall again. We've been trying to figure out what we do to keep me safe. I mean, she already brings home enough bugs that lay me low for a week or two. And that's before we even get to thinking about impacts on her!
posted by drewbage1847 at 11:55 PM on July 22, 2020 [8 favorites]

Much of teachers' time goes uncompensated. It s hard to think of another occupation like that, where large amounts of uncompensated hours are just expected.

Pretty much every pink collar profession is like that. Once again, "X is a calling" means "I am going to shame you into taking less pay for X".
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:33 AM on July 23, 2020 [39 favorites]

I was thinking "windowless classrooms" was a bit of hyperbole from Grohl, but a quick googling showed me that in the US that's actually a thing...
posted by Harald74 at 3:42 AM on July 23, 2020 [10 favorites]

Much of teachers' time goes uncompensated. It s hard to think of another occupation like that, where large amounts of uncompensated hours are just expected.

All salaried professions but the rest of us don't have to hear that we should be paid less because we have "shorter working days".

I mean, if you reduced my job to just meetings or conversations with other people you could argue that I only work an hour or two a day! I could do anything I wanted with the rest of that time, right? Since I've always worked from home a few days a week, that's been true even pre-pandemic.

The problem isn't that teachers have to work when they're not directly in front of a class, the problem is that they get paid and treated as if that were not the case.
posted by atrazine at 4:25 AM on July 23, 2020 [19 favorites]

> At the end of the day, I do think staff needs to accept a higher-than-average risk to care for students ... with proper supports.

Proper supports should include an affirmative statement from my district that if I get Coronavirus, I'll get Worker's Comp presumptively. In my state, that means if I die, my wife gets 75 percent of my wage, for life.

Waiting on that.
posted by parliboy at 6:49 AM on July 23, 2020 [17 favorites]

Here, it looks like the schools will be starting the fall remotely. From a public health point of view, that looks like the clear right decision. But it has to be so heartbreakingly difficult for the teachers and administrators to think about all of the students who won't be getting critical services and/or don't live in a safe and well-resourced household where learning can take place.

And, I am not seeing any solutions being created here for the thousands and thousands of one-parent families where the parent can't work from home, either. (To be clear, that's a political failure, not a failure by the schools, but it seems inseparable from thinking about school reopenings.)
posted by Dip Flash at 6:57 AM on July 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

it seems inseparable from thinking about school reopenings

It's the primary reason school re-openings are being pushed: political pressure for in-person schooling to resume is about the economy and has nothing to do with the welfare of children or educational staff. We've created a society in the U.S. that pushed basic, foundational collective needs onto schooling, without redesigning, equipping or funding schools to handle those responsibilities (so, e.g., we have no publicly-subsidized child care for working parents, because schools take care of that...except when schools can't reopen, but people need to get to work, and...oops).

If school re-openings as a political question had anything to do with public safety and welfare, we would have admitted weeks ago that there is no way to re-open them safely at this time, and moved on to solutions, because it's been obvious for a while now that we won't be able to re-open them safely. But if schools don't re-open, the whole house of cards that is our stupid economy will really crash, because how will parents be able to go to work?

This is a problem we have no solution for, and we're crashing head-on into exactly that circumstance in 2-3 weeks. It's not going to be fun for anyone. But to put our children and teachers and all other educational staff directly into harm's way because we need to get the economy going is not just morally reprehensible, it's psychopathic, and that it's even been a conversation really brings into sharp relief how upside-down our values have become in the U.S., and how our systems as they exist really only serve the interests of the already-wealthy and leave the rest of us to fend and fight for ourselves, in a place with plenty to actually go around.
posted by LooseFilter at 7:26 AM on July 23, 2020 [25 favorites]

Another factor is substitute teachers...oh, sorry, we have been elevated in name, if not in pay...we are Guest Teachers now. As a retired teacher, I was supplementing my pension and getting out of the house to hang out with high school kids a couple of days a week as a sub. But now they will be really needed, and I am not willing to risk my wife's health for $15/hr. Our urban district (Denver) is planning on a full opening at the beginning of September. Plans to keep everyone safe? Thoughts and prayers.
posted by kozad at 7:45 AM on July 23, 2020 [10 favorites]

Let's not forget childcare, and how the schools allow adults to go to work. Does anyone think parents who are working at home are accomplishing the same productivity as when they are in the office? Follow the money. It's pretty clear where the Administration puts their priorities. And why.
posted by Windopaene at 12:56 PM on July 23, 2020

I'm a sub too and no way in hell I'm going to sub this year. Yeah, they might need me, but my family needs me more.

One thing I've been working on is a mutual aid network to help parents manage either homeschooling, tutoring or just the stress associated with what's coming down the pike. I've had three meetings with friends, and I'm not going to ask for pay for any of it. (Yeah, I'm in a unique position right now to do that. They can pay me in zucchinis if they want.)

If you too are in a position to help out safely (online or around a fire pit, which is what we're going to do) then I hope you do as well.

All we've got now in these terrible times is each other. We have to help.
posted by RedEmma at 1:33 PM on July 23, 2020 [5 favorites]

I’m laughing about school districts’ response to school shootings, which range from consultants instructing monthly lockdown drills to local sales tax levies to fund millions of dollars in physical plant “improvements”. School shootings have killed hundreds of students and staff since Columbine or maybe earlier if we’re counting the “I don’t like Mondays” shootings.

COVID-19 has killed 150,000 ppl since January, and districts’ response (mine anyway) is to put signs up telling ppl to wash their hands more often.

It’s almost as if one problem is easier to monetize than the other.
posted by toodleydoodley at 10:46 PM on July 23, 2020 [10 favorites]

Florida lawyers offering free living wills to teachers returning to school during the pandemic (NBC News, July 24, 2020) Since advertising the free living wills, a document that provides legal instructions for a person's choice of medical care should they be unable to communicate them directly to a doctor themselves, he [Charles Gallagher, whose St. Petersburg law firm, Gallagher & Associates, is among those offering teachers free living wills] has received inquiries from some 600 teachers and others school employees. [...] Lawyers like Gallagher and Jen Englert, the managing partner and founder of The Orlando Law Group, which is partnering with a local radio station to give teachers access to free living wills, have long been advocating for people to get their estate affairs in order.

"We decided to offer these services because teachers were actually coming to us asking for our help," Englert said. "We'd already done discounted wills for first responders and medical professionals throughout the pandemic, but it hadn't occurred to us to do teachers until they came to us. We just wanted to help in the best way we knew how to." According to Englert, 800 people, most of whom are from the Central Florida area, have reached out in a two-day period.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:03 AM on July 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

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