In the army I learned that "perfection is the enemy of the good enough." President Reagan once remarked that someone who agrees with you 80% of the time is not your enemy, despite that 20% opposition, but your ally. Life seldom gives problems where the solutions are black and white, choose your level of gray.
That is what came to my head as I read this story about not teaching. We teachers like to chant the mantra that education is the solution to all of society's ills, but things are different in Berkeley:
In Berkeley, California’s most progressive city, they aren’t educating anyone online because of equity issues. Using Titanic-style logic (“Since we can’t save everyone on the Titanic, let’s make everyone stay on board and go down with the ship!”), district officials maintain that because not every student has a computer or access to the internet, no one should get educated. And this mentality has not only infected Berkeley. School districts in Kentucky, Washington state and elsewhere have succumbed to Titanic logic.Education is the solution to all of society's ills until it conflicts with the political philosophy of "equity"; when that happens, toss education aside. It's better to have no education at all than to have some education for some people, even if only temporarily. Must. Have. Perfection.
Similarly, if Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos proposes something, it must be bad, right?
On the national level, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has suggested that Congress should consider microgrants to help teachers with online learning, especially for disadvantaged students. The proposal would target kids whose schools have been closed for at least 30 days and are either eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or are enrolled in a special education program.So, in Berkeley, there's no online teaching going on because some kids don't have computers. Let's give grants so poor kids can get computers, says DeVos. No way, that's bad because it might (somehow) lead to privatization!
A spokesperson for DeVos said the grants could be used “to fund materials needed for home-based learning, like computers or software, internet access, or instructional materials. They could also support educational services like therapies for students with disabilities, tuition and fees for a public or private online learning course or program, and educational services provided by a private or public school, or tutoring.”
Sounds reasonable, right? Well, not if you are a union boss. An unhinged National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García shot back, “Betsy DeVos is shamefully using this global crisis to push her privatization agenda.”
García also claimed that DeVos’ scheme “would use ‘microgrants’ to siphon scarce public funding to private programs. I say, if it looks like a voucher program, acts like a voucher program, and sounds like a voucher program, there’s only one thing it can be.”
García urged NEA members to contact Congress and tell them to “reject Betsy DeVos’s latest plot to undermine public education.” She added “Students, parents, and educators need real help, not another attempt to take funding away from the most vulnerable students.”
Lefties, especially those in education, are deranged. There's just no way around it. Politics über alles, even über kids' education.
Update, 4/8/20: A commenter noted that there is teaching going on in Berkeley. Here is the Berkeley USD's lengthy distance learning plan. I read it, the entire thing, and to be honest, it doesn't impress me. I'm going to contact the author of the article I linked above and ask where he got his information about Berkeley.