And then, Andrew the Virus King attacked the schools.
In his daily delusion, reaching for the ever-bigger thrill of unrestrained power, he said the schools must change.
Classrooms and buildings, and teachers with children, that all must be swept away. In the new world he is creating, in the wake of his virus, he claims we can never go back to the way it was. And that includes education. Schools are an antiquated concept, and we have new technology now, and he will show the way.
With the help of Bill and Melinda Gates.
Who are rich.
And with apparently no input from parents or teachers, unions or legislators. What we all know and love, one of the best parts of our society, a key to our liberty and humanity, the teacher in the classroom, will all go away. By the sweep of his hand, with the glory of his majesty, through the thunder of his voice.
The Virus King has spoken.
With Liberty eviscerated at his feet.
Her textbooks and syllabi scattered around her.
That’s his dream.
But here’s our reality. A teacher in a classroom is not a vestige of the past, it is the path to the future. It always has been, and it always will be. There is nothing, no technique and no technology, that will ever be better than a caring, professional teacher and a circle of young minds. It was true in the days of Plato, and in the one-room school houses of pioneer America, and it is still true and powerful today.
The shutdown of schools hasn’t shown us the effectiveness of distance learning, it has reminded us of the necessity of in-person teaching. It has reminded us that the model of teachers and students is special and almost sacred.
Though the governor claims to see success in the “digital learning” of the last two months, no one else does. In many districts, it has been a joke, with few teachers buying in and even fewer students taking part. Many such sessions have succeeded only because they have often turned into one-on-one conversations between the teacher and the only student who participated.
Further, where true classes have gathered online, maintaining order and online etiquette has been challenging.
The upshot is that distance learning is a tool, but it is not a panacea. It has great limitations, and is at best nothing but a substitute – a substitute for direct in-person contact between a teacher and a student. It can expand some opportunities, but it can never replace real classroom instruction.
That’s the fact.
Another fact is that education doesn’t belong to the governor, and this decision is not his.
New York is a state of free people. They are parents, and taxpayers, and voters. The schools and the children in them are theirs. The stakeholders are the people, not the governor.
And the people have elected school boards and legislators – members of the Assembly and Senate. And through them the people express their will and write their laws. Certainly, Cuomo has bastardized that process, stealing legislative power for himself by forcing a myriad of policy and legislative decisions into omnibus budget votes, but in America the laws are to be made by legislators representing the people who will have to live under those laws.
And local education is to be overseen by local boards of education elected by local voters.
And nobody knows education better than teachers – the people whose careers and educations have been dedicated to it. How is it that a governor can proclaim some grand, fundamental change with no consultation or input from people who are experts in the subject at hand? Aren’t New York teachers represented by strong unions capable of speaking their minds? Why weren’t those unions consulted?
Why was this decision seemingly made and announced unilaterally by a single man?
And how is it that he anointed as his partners in this two billionaire activists? How are they more competent or qualified than parents, teachers, legislators and school boards? Why is their voice heard while others are not? And doesn’t their sponsorship of discredited Common Core and their repudiated globalist education views disqualify them from using New York’s children once more as their guinea pigs?
And how can one man decree such a fundamental change to the lives of people who are citizens, not subjects?
How does he get to decide that school will never be school again?
You’re going to have to ask him, if you dare question Andrew the Virus King.