More than a year into the pandemic, the majority of K-12 students in blue states are still not attending school in person full-time. The failure to resume the normal rhythm of schooling in historically progressive states amounts to the most significant failure of public policy in a generation.
What began as needed and understandable caution with the onset of COVID-19 has long since veered into the irresponsible. Democratic governors, leaders of the largest teachers’ unions and many local Democratic elected officials — a cadre that regales in the blood sport of attacking Trumpism for being anti-science — have consistently disregarded the overwhelming scientific evidence that opening full-time is doable and safe for most schools. For many left-leaning and moderate voters, such as myself — particularly those with school-age children — this has proven to be an unforgivable mistake considering the downside risks associated with closures.
We’ve witnessed lost instructional time, widening education disparities and the deterioration of students’ mental health. Less often discussed in this context is a record surge of gun violence nationwide, with youth violence afflicting cities like Philadelphia and St. Louis. The victims are predominantly young men of color. And while we can’t draw a direct line to closures, it is entirely likely that lost connections to institutions of community life have influenced a rise in violence throughout the country.
There are many reasons we’ve landed here, including a decentralized system of government and decision-making. But our Achilles’ heel has once again been a knee-jerk retrenchment to ideological and political fault lines, allowing public-health and education decisions to be sucked into the all-consuming vortex of partisan politics.
Read the rest at: time.com