Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The War on American Schoolchildren

I have tried on this blog to cover the story of covid-induced school closings. Since teachers’ unions and Democratic politicians declared that it was not a problem and would not hurt children, we can be reasonably assured that school closings were a problem and hurt children.

I have reported several studies that show the negative effects of school closings, especially on minority children. 

Now, Karol Markowicz offers some new evidence in The New York Post.

She, as I, blames the teachers unions:

When teachers unions forced schools to close and the Biden administration allowed union leaders like Randi Weingarten to craft Centers for Disease Control and Prevention policy to make sure they stayed that way, some of us argued that treating schools as inconsequential would have consequences.

Kids are resilient, we were told. They’ll be fine. So what if they sat at home for a year staring at a screen with no interaction with their peers? And so what if they were forced to do this when all the science said they should be in actual school? They’d bounce right back when Weingarten finally gave the OK for school to resume. It would be just that easy.

But it turns out the people who have been wrong about everything else were wrong about this too.

The evidence keeps rolling in:

Kids are truly damaged from a year of sitting at home. The education Web site Chalkbeat reported in late September, “Schools across the country say they’re seeing an uptick in disruptive behaviors. Some are obvious and visible, like students trashing bathrooms, fighting over social-media posts or running out of classrooms. Others are quieter calls for help, like students putting their head down and refusing to talk.”

Vandalism is off the charts. My sons’ public elementary school in Brooklyn e-mailed that some kids are “engaging in more mischief than usual,” like locking all the bathroom stalls and crushing chalk.

Schools nationwide are reporting kids participating in a “TikTok challenge” that involves them destroying school bathrooms, ripping down soap containers and partitions.

It gets worse. Last week, police in Fresno, Calif., said a 12-year-old boy is facing felony charges after making threatening phone calls to two schools. Pennsylvania’s Woodland Hills HS went back to virtual learning twice due to “credible threats” and fighting among students.

There’s been a sharp rise in aggressive behavior. Fighting is rampant. 

Denver Public Schools reports a 21 percent increase in fights since pre-pandemic times. The National Association of School Resource Officers charts more than three times as many gun-related incidents in schools than in the same three-month period in 2019.

Markowicz concludes:

Where is the resilience we were promised?

We’ve treated kids like mini-robots who can be turned off for social settings and then on again, and they have sustained real damage from 20 months of being managed as an afterthought.

The story is unfolding. The consequences will continue to unfold in time. Closing schools will count among the most irresponsible actions that governments took during the pandemic.

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