Open Thread Wednesday

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  • StudioBrooklyn

    The highly reputable Daily News agency has a source in the article you linked which they won’t name, making an irrelevant point. I don’t disagree that 3% seems arbitrary, It’s a shockingly high number.

    The Insider article is behind a paywall but according to the headline it seems to just make the point that it’s hypocritical for bars and restaurants to remain open, not that schools should. Again, no argument there.

    Finally, we are not “losing a generation of kids” and as a teacher it’s rather insulting to the hard work that thousands of my colleagues and I have been doing when people make such claims. It’s been fascinating to see such short-term thinking come out of the woodwork.

  • Brooklyn Noob

    How about the UN? Liberal and legit enough for you? Remote learning is a disaster, especially for younger kids. It doesn’t work. All of my family are educators at the middle and collegiate level. I know how much work they put in and how much of that progress is being wasted by random union mandates that protect nothing but jobs. Transmission in schools is exponentially lower than the broader community and keeping kids in school rather than in the broader community will arguably help keep it lower there too.

    And please don’t patronize me like you regularly do to others on this site that you don’t agree with. I don’t find it “fascinating” that I care about my kids and the fact that their opportunity to learn is being dictated by petty politics and not science.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Not sure why you think I’m patronizing you when I state that the pandemic must be defeated by a long-term strategy. Such a strategy should probably include a complete lockdown and the redistribution of resources to ensure nobody is harmed by such measures until there is a proven vaccine available to them.

    And I’m not going to change my tone for you when you’re on here dismissing the work teachers are doing to transition to a safer mode of instruction (and the lower positivity rate in schools correlated to a lower rate of testing, by the way). We all need to make that effort.

    “Liberal and legit enough for you” yeah you don’t get to police tone.

  • Brooklyn Noob

    Ok Tonemaster General. I won’t try then.

    Since you regularly drop your research knowledge on the unwashed masses who frequent this site, please science us on your basis for closing schools, because as you are likely keenly aware almost all of the research says the opposite.

    The teachers are not the problem. Never have been. The union and their pathetic attempts to defend a system that is broken is. If you defend that, then I guess you are part of the problem, too.

    Remote learning doesn’t work for younger kids. If you have one at home, you know.

    Schools aren’t super spreaders. If you read the research, it is clear.

    Younger kids should be in school, full time. If you believe in true equity you would embrace this.

    You will lose this one based on science, public opinion, and common sense.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    “Ok Tonemaster General.” I don’t have the energy to come up with a nickname for you, sorry. Continuing respectfully:

    Staying home within family units or pods is safer, in terms of Covid transmission, than going out into public buildings. Agreed?

    Therefore, as many people as possible should be doing this. If doing so will impact a family’s ability to pay for housing or food, we as a society have the resources—and, I would argue, the obligation—to collectively provide it for them. It needs to be reallocated that way, and the reason we haven’t done that is because our priorities just don’t line up with the goal of bringing about a quicker end to the pandemic.

    I disagree with you, for this reason, that the union is the problem. The UFT has been trying to keep us (teachers) as safe as possible, and they are working well within the paradigm of keeping the economy going as close to normal as current imaginations seem to permit.

    I do have a child in elementary school at PS8 and I will readily admit that it’s a struggle, but I’m far less concerned about that struggle than I am about my child contracting or spreading this disease. We could come up with ways of supporting far less fortunate kids that is consistent with the level of Covid safety of keeping kids at home or in residential pods, but again, I just don’t think New Yorkers are open to that level of state intervention or economic redistribution, and I worry that this way of thinking will protract this pandemic.

    There was not enough testing to really say with certainty that the schools are as safe as we say they are; testing was optional and far too infrequent between September and now. My workplace did indeed feel reasonably safe when it was open, but we only had two days of random testing all year before we closed the doors last week. We don’t really know the extent of how schools were affected by, or affected, Covid spread. They only tested 58,000 kids out of the 1.1 million that are in the public school system ( and I’m not at all satisfied with that sample size.

    Lastly, I have noticed that veteran classroom teachers seem to have had the most difficult transition to online teaching. I don’t think these colleagues of mine received enough training on this, or maybe just not the right kind. I believe remote teaching could be done way better than it is, but in my experience this requires new approaches to other paradigms—again, possibly venturing outside the scope of how old-school educators revered for their classroom management skills have done things.

    Even with my relative adaptability to the tech and management demands, a full third of my students are struggling to keep up academically—these are the most vulnerable third, the ones who were in trouble before the pandemic hit. We should have been doing more to address their needs for generations going back. Maybe this will wake us (as a society) up. Their struggles bear a sad correlation to larger socioeconomic patterns.

    Here are some of my fact sources:

    WHO urges better information management (

    Data on various countries’ Covid levels:

    For the countries that have managed their spreads better, you can investigate what measures were taken. For the most part, they had serious lockdowns.

  • aeshtron

    UFT is making life better for New York teachers and their students.

    Hooray for organized labor : )

  • Brooklyn Noob

    It’s hard to know where to start here. So much to unwind . . . the utopian socialist state, or the total disregard for what almost every research study out there shows that schools are not an issue for spread. Not immune, but certainly worth it.

    As more eloquently stated by The “super conservative” Vermont President of the Pediatric medical association / Pediatric critical care physician in this excellent piece: “There are critical time periods for motor and sensory development, for social emotional learning, and for academic progress. Kids can’t afford to lose more time.”

    And, when part of your argument is “the UFT is great for kids” you have lost any credibility. Rubber rooms. Political bullies. Never once have kids come first on their agenda.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Am I reading you correctly? Your argument seems to boil down to a fear of socialism. You’re also dismissive of a causal relationship between governments managing the pandemic effectively and any measures that aren’t based on some kind of rugged free market fantasy.

    As an educator, I’ve studied this: I fully acknowledge that kids benefit from being in school, physically, around other kids and their teachers, under normal circumstances. I just don’t see how that’s more important right now than stopping the spread of Covid.

    The “T” in UFT stands for teachers. I’m not sure whom else you’re expecting them to put at the top of their agenda. Incidentally, they’ve done lots to improve the quality of working conditions for teachers, which in turn has improved the quality of our work for children, for a wide variety of reasons. Many anti-union parents seem to think, mistakenly, that the relationship between teacher well-being and student well-being is inverse or adversarial. I assure you it is not.

  • Brooklyn Noob
  • StudioBrooklyn

    I’m laughing. I saw that article this morning and thought about this discussion. I don’t know what to tell you, except maybe don’t hate on my union so much?

    Look, I think if you ask teachers, our priority is our students’ safety and wellness. That starts with physical health, then mental health, then academic health, in that order. Lockdowns are done in the interest of physical health, first and foremost. I’ve more or less outed myself as a leftist on here but that just informs the way I see lockdowns being economically feasible. Students’ physical wellbeing isn’t a partisan issue, and I think we can agree to keep it protected from our political differences.

  • mk

    American Thread in Tribeca