Kids come in last again!
There is a great debate going on across the country right now and even in the great state of Maryland. Should children after almost a full year come back into the building for school. Is it safe cry the teachers’ unions from behind their laptops wherever they can get a signal?
The reality is that is it much more unsafe to keep children out of school buildings. Adults have acquired skills that children NEED in-school learning to acquire. Yes students have lost up to a year academically during the lock-out. But that is not anywhere near the penalty they have paid emotionally.
The suicide rate among adolescents is climbing almost daily. An Arizona study found a 67% higher suicide rate in 2020 over 2019! The Centers for Disease Control have reported a marked increase in depression and anxiety among children.
Children use school to learn academically. They also use school to learn emotionally. They learn the skills to make friends. A child in kindergarten cannot learn that on a Chromebook. A year is a critical time in a child’s life. Adolescence is another critical time. Kids' bodies are changing dramatically. They are beginning to sort out what their cohort is socially, jock? nerd? Their bodies are sending them sexual signals and many kids need peers with whom to discuss these feelings. What equals normal? Only another kid going through these feelings can validate what is normal. Think about this- A stranger looking at a child can usually accurately guess whether that child is 5 or 6, or 12 or 14. That same stranger looking at an adult would be hard pressed to guess if the adult were 35 or 36. The reason is that a year is a child’s life is reflective of much more growth and development than in an adult’s life.
The medical evidence is clear. A child’s emotional safety is much more at risk with online instruction than his or her physical safety is at risk if attending school. For the most part, kids in western Europe have been in school. Not in the U.S. One of the reason is the age of our school buildings. They are difficult to retrofit for better ventilation. Another big reason is the refusal of the teachers’ unions to give up online teaching. They don’t even have to do lesson planning anymore. Most of the school districts are providing them to the teachers. One size fits all right? Something that every short, tall, thin, heavy person knows for sure.
Our children are suffering and we adults are looking the other way, feeling secure that in providing for our children’s physical safety they will just “catch up” academically and emotionally. That just ain’t so!
Our society always talks big about how kids come first. But our behavior repeatedly demonstrates they come in last again.