NYT Column: “Children Need to Be Back in School Tomorrow”

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“Remote learning is a disaster, especially for disadvantaged students”

Raleigh, N.C. — With the North Carolina General Assembly poised to act on reopening schools in the coming days, this column from the New York Times by David Brooks is very timely. Below are excerpts. Read the full column here.

The broader data on school closure is horrendous. Mental health problems have increased. Many children have simply vanished from official oversight. Schools in Hillsborough County, Fla., started the year missing 7,000 students.

The children who are attending aren’t learning much. A Stanford study suggested that the average student has lost at least a third of a year’s worth of learning in reading and three-quarters of a year’s worth of learning in math.

The second fact is in-person learning can be done safely with the right precautions. This was unclear last March and April, but now study after study has shown that schools can be safe. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just attested to this fact. The evidence seems clear.

Private and some public schools are already operating safely all around the country, with little evidence that attendance is spreading the virus.

The fourth fact is that this situation is especially devastating to poorer Black and brown students. Many affluent kids have fled the public school disaster for private schools. It’s Black and brown kids who live in cities with progressive mayors and powerful unions, and those are the places where in-school learning has been closed down…I guess I would ask you, do Black lives matter to you only when they serve your political purpose?

The unions are not reflecting reality. Instead of addressing legitimate fears with facts and evidence, they are using their political muscle to inflame those fears. The most vulnerable people in our country are the victims.

The official Medium account for N.C. Senate Leader Phil Berger’s press office.

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