Friday, March 19, 2021

Safety Last, Says Bill de Blasio

Bill de Blasio, reputation in tatters after a preposterous run for President and outrageous failure to close school buildings during a raging pandemic, is perpetually late for everything. Were I as late to my work as he his, I'd be selling pencils on the corner rather than teaching English. 

De Blasio has that heavily on his mind. So how can he restore his rep?

Cuomo's fall from grace helps, in that perhaps he's not the very worst tinhorn politician in New York State this week. This makes de Blasio think, look, I can be governor. Maybe the people in New York will forget my bungling indecision. People in the city will forget that I predicted 75% of students wanted to attend school buildings during a pandemic. Perhaps they won't recall I purposefully misinterpreted data, and that it ended up more like 25%.

Hey, maybe all the people shouting for wider openings will finally get their way. After all, social distancing may fall from 6 to 3 feet, and then NYC can go back to its time-honored policy of shoveling kids into classrooms like canned sardines. Personally, I've been working in the most overcrowded school in the city for almost 30 years, so I've got a pretty good notion of how that works. 

There are a few things to consider here, and of course de Blasio has spent not one minute considering, let alone anticipating them. That's not his style, Just charge into whatever head first with no thought whatsoever, and hope for the best. After all, why change your style simply because it's drawn you into failure after failure? 

One thing de Blasio has never considered, as far as I can tell, is that virus is prodigiously contagious. Had he done that, we'd never have seen his pawn Carranza telling UFT, after we handed him 108,000 signatures asking buildings be closed, that he'd regard them only if they were from epidemiologists. So contagion is not a factor. If CDC says three feet is enough, we'll have to wait and see how many people drop dead as a result before de Blasio puts his finger to the wind and changes his mind.

Another minor inconvenience is the fact that, even if teachers are vaccinated, students are not. Covid can affect them, despite what de Blasio may believe, and long Covid in kids is indeed a thing. Just months ago, European schools closed as schoolchildren were determined to be spreading the virus. As variants of the virus arrive, and as we learn new things all the time, I personally hate learning things the hard way. 

As if that's not enough, the fact is a whole lot of city parents don't want to learn the hard way either. They do not, in fact, trust city schools enough that they'll risk the lives of their kids, themselves, or anyone. I hope the CDC is correct, and I hope we learn 3 feet of social distancing is sufficient. That doesn't mean I'm comfortable, though, with my kids or yours being guinea pigs.

As a teacher, there's nothing I'd like better than going back to my real job. That would be the best thing for students as well. Unfortunately, erring on the side of caution is not something in the makeup of the current New York City mayor. On the brighter side, New Yorkers are likely more skeptical than de Blasio thinks they are. Blatantly biased New York Times reporters can trumpet otherwise, but New Yorkers are nobody's fools, not even for the so-called paper of record. 

For as far back as I can remember, New York Mayor has been a position from which no one's gone ahead politically. After next year, Bill de Blasio may have to go out and get a real job, and that will benefit all New Yorkers. 

Except, perhaps, whoever has the misfortune of employing him. The DOE, for example, could bring him up on charges for his constant failure to report on time. I only hope I'm not his chapter leader when that happens.

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