by James C. Sherlock

Remote learning leaves behind the poorest children. Please check the map above for a state near you.

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37 responses to “Back to School?”

  1. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Well, government is just going to have to take our tax dollars and fix that, right?

  2. Maria Paluzsay Avatar
    Maria Paluzsay

    Let’s go further than internet, which can be, to a certain extent, remedied. The psycho/emotional damage to our children is going to come back to haunt us. My doctor told me her 7-year old is afraid to roll down the window in the car, even though she assures him it is perfectly safe, and my 12- and 16-year olds have barely seen peers since March. Not by my restricting them – my 12-year old watches news and is afraid of catching something that will kill his grandma. Both of mine are ADHD kids with a degree of social anxiety anyway. We are creating a generation of self isolators.

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    Internet access is not absolutely required to do distance learning.

    What is required is that once a week or so – you’d have to drive to where there is internet access and connect the device to download new lessons and upload completed work that then would be checked by a teacher.

    You just don’t need 100% 24/7 internet access to do distance learning.

    Beyond that – the idea that kids need to socialize – yes.. but again – there are more than just one way for that to happen.

    Folks who homeschool their kids recognize that and take the steps needed to have their kids socialize with other kids. There are many ways to do this.

    Once more, we don’t like what the virus is doing to us but once more, we are not able to return to K-12 the way it was.

    We have to change – we have to adapt. we have to innovate.

    This is better than just bitching about it and a whole helluva lot more productive!

    Some day, we WILL get back to k-12 as we knew it and that will make a lot of folks happier, I’m sure but for all the complaints that we also had back before.. you’d think that K-12 prior to the virus was a massive failure that needed to be re-invented.

    Well, here we are. Reinvent away! Oh… everyone was just kidding?

    oh my.

  4. Larry, are the kids going to self-teach in between turning in weekly homework? Teaching requires interaction between teacher and student. There are too many children who do not have the basic reading and math skills to move forward. They’re not going to get that from a weekly drive by internet connection.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Carol – Kids DO self-teach – all the time. The interaction with the teacher is one way – and for some, the best way.

      But computers these days also “teach” and people “learn”. I’ve certified in several different subjects – on the computer… researching and looking up answers…

      in terms of young kids 1st and 2nd grade… yes.. I’m told that they:

      “learn to read” so that then they can “read to learn”.

      but you did not get the “drive by” part. The drive-by is only to reload.

      How many different teaching toys have you seen? I’ve seen a LOT of them where the child does learn. In fact, I’ve heard that some kids actually learn better than way than the traditional way.

      I’m not arguing that direct interaction is not the best way – just that it’s not the only way – and we’re now in a situation where as much as people want to go back to the original way – it’s not going to happen as soon or as completely as we all would want.

      A problem also, I’m hearing, is what working parents will do if they cannot work and have to stay home.

      We’re just not there yet. Look around the country, It not a Dem or GOP issue.. most K-12 is not ready yet…. and indications are that big, big changes have to be made just to re-open…

      1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

        “But computers these days also “teach” and people “learn”. ”

        Yes. In the 1970s, I worked for CDC and Bill Norris developed an interactive learning system call “Plato”. Look it up. Teamed with UoIll, CDC put one of the first test system in a school in intercity Baltimore.

        What they discovered was that the system time/charges were way too high for the planned usage. They suspected some sort of bug. After working to discover the bug, they decided to check the installation at the school.

        They found the cause of The overages. Kids were breaking into school at night to use the lessons.

        The desire to learn is strong. We need only supply the tools.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          Internet is like electricity these days but it’s not impossible for computers to teach without 24/7 internet. Videos, interactive lessons, the computer can detect which areas the kid is having trouble with and bring more exercises…etc.. none of that requires 24/7 internet per se.

          People buy all manner of non-internet teaching toys… these days for their kids…

          so teaching and learning does not require ONLY a centralized bricks/mortar school.

          socialization with other kids and interaction with teachers is more of an issue… but it’s also the problem with COVID19. People want these two things but they are the concern and some folks just don’t believe the risk but others do – teachers and parents who have health conditions – know and are concerned.

          And once one family member gets COVID19 – all family members are effectively isolated – including working parents – and would you send a child to school if other family members had COVID19?

          I just don’t think these issues can be unilaterally dismissed as if they are false/invalid reasons to not re-open schools.

          1. WayneS Avatar

            “Internet is like electricity these days…”

            I am REALLY glad that is not true, because if it were true the fuel costs for my generator would be through the roof.

  5. Maria Paluzsay Avatar
    Maria Paluzsay

    I’m not a fan of “K-12 the way it was” anyway. I see great potential for those that have the means to improve their children’s public education with a half week attendance, but that is a very small percentage. We need resources open so that it is our decision as parents on how to build on the base education the kids will receive distance learning. And yes, I realize I am furthering that have/have not separation, but a certain amount of that is parent responsibility. My hope in my personal situation is that a small group of parents will get together and semi-homeschool, so our kids have social interaction on a lesser scale as well as improved learning opportunities. This needs to become community schooling because the public schools can’t handle it – at least not in Virginia, where the Governor will make sure they don’t. I’ll be looking into microschooling.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      That’s a 2014 article – but a GOOD one!

  6. Matt Hurt Avatar
    Matt Hurt

    Distance learning is OK when you have someone in the home with the child who values education, and is sober enough to ensure that the students attend to their studies. Doctors and lawyers kids should have few problems with this. Connectivity notwithstanding, who will ensure that kids will work on their assignments when mommy and daddy are passed out drunk/high on the couch, or worse yet, nowhere within miles of the home. Many of these parents had a bad experience when they were in school, and they think that school folks are the oppressors (which some may have been and maybe some still are). For these students, the caring attention provided by a good teacher will make the difference between skills progressing or regressing.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Well yes… but that’s not the problem. The problem is that some parents are fed up with trying to educate their own kids and want to go back to work….

      But for some time now, prior to COVID-19, the mantra has been that public education is a massive failure… and they’d lay out point by point all the failures… and they’d talk about “school choice” and how non-public schools and vouchers were the way to go.

      Now, the tune has changed… and government is being “horrible” for not reopening all those failed public schools…

      what the? You’d think NOW is the time to goose those non-public alternatives, no?

      1. Matt Hurt Avatar
        Matt Hurt

        You’re right, this is not the problem. When the other team is in charge, complain! When my team is in charge, defend! We are spending so much time trying to demonstrate how the liberals are stupid or the conservatives are nazis that we can never get together long enough to address the real problems. God forbid we come up with any real solutions.

        1. Tom Banford Avatar
          Tom Banford

          Finally, a voice of reason surfaces. A real breath of fresh air blows over the continuing assertions and counter-assertions.

          1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

            He recognized the problem, and articulated it. Now, a solution?

        2. Matt Hurt Avatar
          Matt Hurt

          We start treating each other like human beings rather than like Democrats or Republicans. We need to realize that we are really on the same team. We need to recognize that we all truly want the same positive outcomes, despite the fact that we have differing opinions on how to get there. We need to realize that despite our oversized egos, we really don’t have the answers, and that working together with others usually produces the best solutions.

  7. James Wyatt Whitehead V Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Randolph Macon Academy in Front Royal has a good plan. I think it will work and serve the interests of education.

  8. LarrytheG Avatar

    Glad to see you back James..!!!

    Yes.. SOME schools are going to move ahead… and they SHOULD and truth be known – I would expect the non-public schools to be the leaders. The public schools are going to be CYA.

    I keep saying.. now is the time for non-public schools to move ahead.

    And I’m serious. The public schools are a compromise that is too much for some – so do it.

    I’d even support vouchers as long as they meet the same academic transparency and accountability standards.

  9. Nancy_Naive Avatar

    9/1967 to 6/1970 — three years of high school. In that time, I had, oh maybe, four classes wherein we sat and watched WHRO PBS televised lectures. By any definition of the word, that was distance learning.

    Time marches on…

    Given an iPad, Bluetooth keypad, and 4g-5g connectivity, most areas could institute interactive long distance learning at a onetime expense of $500 and $15/month. Pretty cheap based on, what, something like the current $15,000/student/year. Nothing compared to the massive $50,000/student/year for DoD k-12.

    Now, the real question, the vast areas with no connectivity. Not a problem! They don’t have COV2 in those areas, remember?

    1. VDOTyranny Avatar

      and now, with a computer and internet service, we can stream TEDTalks… Progress!

      1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

        And @POTUS. Regression!

  10. It’s the elementary and middle school kids who need to get back to school most of all.

    Sprint just took down a tower here, now we have even more dead zones of no cell service. We’re on a peninsula, and 5G’s not great near the water. Verizon won’t run DSL any more. $15 is only in urban areas. Rural, it’s $40-60–if your home is close enough to tie into the cable. Too far, it’s thousands IF the cable company will hook you up at all.

    Considering we have 5 cases and 2 hospitalized, no, not much COV here at all.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      never heard of towers taken down! wow!

    2. Nancy_Naive Avatar

      Geez, where the heck are you, the Guinea Neck? Do you speak Old English?

    3. VDOTyranny Avatar

      SpaceX’s is taking names for its upcoming LEO internet service. In theory, LEO service should perform at least tolerably well as opposed to current geostationary based satellite

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        If it is reasonably priced .. and probably won’t be. But the problem with satellites is the “return” .. with a land-line or even cell tower – the “return” goes right back to where it was transmitted. With a satellite you have to have either a landline to return or an uplink and the uplink is the hard part that Starlink says they’ve solved. we’ll see.

        they also are in low earth orbit which means they come down and have to be replaced… more rocket launches with thousands of satellites onboard…

        it’s an entirely new “infrastructure” model..

        I use a verizon jetpack when we travel. It works pretty good most of the time even out in rural areas… and you can buy an antenna booster.

        and we are seeing this:

        an antenna can serve several houses in a rural area.

        I think it would be perfectly reasonable for the Federal government to get involved much like it has done with rural electricity and phones and I bet both liberals and conservatives would support it.

  11. That’s the point – separating us into groups so we all go at each others’ throat rather than the Soviet style govt we’re getting.

    1. Matt Hurt Avatar
      Matt Hurt

      The folks who are benefiting the most from all of the tribalism and partisan politics (other than the main stream media) are the career politicians. They are really good at demonizing the other side, spinning very little into a big deal, and pitting us against one another. They are really good at monetizing the whole process in order to fund their campaigns as well as to pay their dues to the party to obtain choice committee appointments. We as citizens need to wake up and realize how we’re being useful idiots to the power mongers in these elected positions. It is completely ridiculous to me that there is such a thing as a career politician.

      It is way past time for term limits on everything. I recommend that it should be a hanging offense for any individual to hold any level elected office (or combination of offices at any level of government) for more than 8 years. Despite the fact that I am staunchly against capital punishment, I would certainly make an exception in this case.

  12. LarrytheG Avatar

    I’m not really in favor of terms limits and I say that realizing that some places will remain in the hands of someone who is not a good representative of those who elected them but rather loyal to the party.

    Voting is our responsibility. We have the opportunity to vote out those that do not represent us and if we don’t – then that’s on us not the elected.

    What I DO favor is getting rid of the advantages the incumbents have especially with campaign financing. I’d like to see the two parties taken down a notch so that legitimate 3rd party challenges can get elected.

    So I favor rank choice elections… that’s gives 3rd party folks a chance and voters the opportunity to elect them but then fall back to a 2nd choice if their first choice fails.

    But ultimately – we who vote have a responsibility and if we choose to leave someone in office – then that’s on us. My two cents.

    1. Matt Hurt Avatar
      Matt Hurt

      I’m in favor of anything that limits the power of the political class.

  13. LarrytheG Avatar

    I hear you but the country was set up to be governed by the elected. Until we change that – that is what we are. Thomas Jefferson was in that “political class”, right?

  14. Matt Hurt Avatar
    Matt Hurt

    I disagree wholeheartedly. Our country was set up to be governed “by the people”, not some political class.

  15. LarrytheG Avatar

    geeze… the “people” – do elect “representatives”. that’s the way we were designed. it works right on down to the smallest geographic level where we elect board members to represent our districts.

    what would we do instead?

  16. Matt Hurt Avatar
    Matt Hurt

    Not allow folks to become part of the political class by limiting their ability to serve in that capacity for more than 8 years at any level. Then, they won’t have the ability to build a humongous war chest, garner political favors with special interest, or be able to amass enough power to degrade our government. Think about all of the campaign finance laws, and all the other things like that put into place. Who approved them? Will the career politicians ever approve anything that will curtail their political aspirations? Does the two party system that is enshrined in our country really provide folks with real alternatives? Just think about ballot access, and how the Democrats and Republicans set up road blocks to keep out third parties, and how they have moved those goal posts over time.

    For every law our government passes, there are unintended, negative consequences. Then they have to pass more laws to fix the problems of their previous laws. Not that I am against laws, as I am a huge proponent of Rule of Law. However, I have thought about this for years, and have come to the conclusion that term limits are the cleanest way to curb the corrupting influence of a career in politics.

    That’s all I have to say about that.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      we’ll just agree to disagree although it is certainly true that the POTUS and many Governors are term-limited.

  17. sherlockj Avatar

    Virginia Constitution
    Article I. Bill of Rights
    Section 5. Separation of legislative, executive, and judicial departments; periodical elections

    That the legislative, executive, and judicial departments of the Commonwealth should be separate and distinct; and that the members thereof may be restrained from oppression, by feeling and participating the burthens of the people, they should, at fixed periods, be reduced to a private station, return into that body from which they were originally taken, and the vacancies be supplied by regular elections, in which all or any part of the former members shall be again eligible, or ineligible, as the laws may direct.

  18. sherlockj Avatar

    35 comments. Pretty good for what basically was a Rorschach test

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