Children in a healthy structured society need schools. Shuttering them, with the hope of arresting a pandemic, is proving how vital school is for the mental and physical health of our children, the structure of our family life and the future of our society. Numerous studies have shown that in the absence of in-person learning, a disproportionate number of low-income children are falling well behind their age group in what is being called “the Covid-slide”.
Perhaps as many as 3 million American kids have been truant since March. Truancy can lead to dropping out, and drop outs live shorter lives, earn less and provide less to society. Families, many who have limited access to needed technology, are struggling to balance work while having to monitor children and their education at home. With the loss of school structure and education, children become less able to live stable, healthy lives.
These are just a few of the reasons why it’s imperative that we do everything we can to support the re-opening of schools. We have seen various European successes keeping schools open safely and it’s not rocket science. There are three main protocols: masks indoors, good fresh air flow in classrooms and, creating “pods” of students. These students learn together and can be tracked and isolated as needed if one becomes ill. With these protective measures in place, Covid outbreaks have not been significantly traced back to schools and transmission between students is uncommon.
It’s high time to prioritize. We need to stop funding institutions and start funding children. Our current system of funding schools puts the needs of institutions before the needs of students. This leads to public schools receiving the lions’ share of taxpayer funding while clearly failing to deliver adequate education during a pandemic. Private schools have proven to be adept at meeting the challenges of in-person education and for this reason, have seen an uptick in Fall applicants. Students from private and public school share common communities and challenges, but often don’t have the same stability and opportunities. Funding students could give them the ability to attain the in-person education that is not readily available in the public school system at this time. There are several ways to do this as explored by Ross Izard, with ACE Scholarships:
We owe it to our kids to provide them with the opportunity to learn and grow with their peers. We owe their educators a return to the employment they were educated and trained for. We owe it to ourselves to encourage a better future for all.