Letters to the Editor: September 17 – 23, 2020
As a former English teacher in Japan, I have seen firsthand the respect shown to senseis in a country which values and respects the profession. As we try to navigate school openings in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic — with mixed success so far — our elected officials should show that same respect to the concerns of our own teachers, who are putting their health and lives on the line to educate our children.
We all would like all our schools to resume in-person learning as soon as it’s safe. But in their demands that states start in-person classes immediately, or risk losing federal funding, President Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy Devos are showing no such respect, and in fact are treating the lives of our teachers, students, and school staff as political props who exist solely to benefit the President’s reelection campaign. According to the Washington Post, at least six teachers have died of Covid-19, and a number of schools have had to suspend in-person classes due to Covid-outbreaks.
Vice President Biden, on the other hand, has a comprehensive roadmap to support reopening schools, which starts with getting Covid-19 under control, and includes:
First and foremost, getting Covid-19 under control; setting national safety guidelines and empowering local decision-making; providing emergency funding for public schools and child care providers; ensuring high-quality learning; and closing the Covid-19 educational equity gap
The Vice President would collaborate with the Department of Education to create a Safer Schools Best Practices Clearinghouse to help schools and child care providers across the country and internationally share approaches and tools for reopening safely. He would also work with the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health to share the latest information with families about how Covid affects children. The education of our children should be one of our highest priorities as a country.
Accordingly, let us treat those directly involved in this field with the respect they deserve.
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