Friday, January 29, 2021

NY Times Continues Its Battle on Common Sense

I've been amazed for years as the NY Times, with some notable exceptions, offered the worst education reporting in Fun City. This is a revered name, with generations of history, and yet you always feel they hate union as much as the tabloids. Of course, the Times has had to deal with union and likely would have made more money if all those who worked for it were doing the whole $7.25 an hour thing. So much for the bastion of liberalism so reviled by Trump and his goons.

Over the last year, I've gotten the distinct impression its education reporter takes regular swipes at us, and why not? Teachers are public enemy number one. Who the hell do we think we are, getting paid to educate children? What the hell kind of public service is that? Wouldn't the world be better off if we were all writing for some fancy paper, filling our news stories with personal and/ or company bias, while wholeheartedly opposing Trump for doing precisely the same thing?

The big issue, of course, is opening schools. We aren't sufficiently pushing for it, evidently. Never mind that we're the only city in the country that's opened as long and far as we have. Perhaps we should be out striking for the right to fully open schools with no precautions. The Times, evidently, doesn't recall that last March we were in precisely that position. As I recall, people died. Perhaps the Times just sees that as the cost of doing business. (Not their business, of course.)

I've been working in filthy school buildings for almost four decades now. You'll pardon me if I'm wary of quick fixes and relying on the intentions of tinhorn politicians. Yet the Times is outraged at that, and its ace education reporter wants me to know that the world at large is sick of me and my nonsense. Hence this tweet:

What's really odd here is that NYC schools, some of them at least, are still open. We do, of course, test for COVID, and close when it shows up. City educators value human life. Go figure.

Perhaps the Times reporter feels that as soon as that needle pierces the skin we ought to go back in full force. Well, even if that were the case, the fact is very few teachers have been vaccinated even once. (Maybe the Times is unaware that the vaccine is in such short supply. It wouldn't be the first time newspaper employees failed to read its own product.) In any case, even those who've gotten the first shot will need to wait a month for the second.   

The article cited by the Times reporter is full of nuggets like this one:

Regarding community rates and children needing to be vaccinated as reasons for keeping schools from opening fully, it’s not clear why that would concern teachers, since they’d already be inoculated.

It's  remarkable that it fails to occur to this writer that we might just be concerned for the health of our students, their families, or our own families. The writer goes on to say governors might be concerned about this, because evidently governors, unlike the teachers the article seems to vilify, are not utterly indifferent to the lives of the children we serve and their families. 

The writer also suggests that Massachusetts only uses 3 feet of social distancing, and presents that as a model. I guess Massachusetts knows better than the CDC, though why that is I have no idea. I suppose, though, that this will work out fine. Until it doesn't, of course. Then someone will have to say, "Oopzie," and someone else will be dead. 

Do teachers have an ethical obligation to go back to full classrooms just as soon as we're vaccinated? First of all, it will be months before that even happens, likely close to the end of this school year, at the very least. IF that happens, and IF the vaccine becomes widely available, and IF it proves effective against the new mutations we're hearing about each and every day, it's likely we'll be able to return in full or near-full capacity in September. 

Meanwhile, we have enough problems. We don't need the gratuitous swipes from the NY Times, or from writers determined to make ridiculous assertions about what we need to do for their convenience. We've just finished with four years of alternative facts. When we want to hear delusional nonsense we can turn on Fox, or OAN, or Newsmax.

The Times owes us something a whole lot better.

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