This is the third and the last post in a series.
- The first part focused upon The Prince William County Schools View.
- The second part surveyed The View From Our Local Newspapers.
Here we consider some observations.
What is the goal of a good education? That depends upon who you ask. That is one reason we support parental authority, including the authority of those parent who want school choice.
Because we are a republic we emphasize the importance of citizenship, and we make some effort to emphasize teaching all our children how our government is supposed to work. Hence, we produce videos like “I’m Just a Bill“. Unfortunately, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has broken up our communities and interfered with our efforts to be good and active citizens. Instead of interacting with each other, we are staying at home, tied together primarily by a mass media few of us trust. We are not necessarily being oppressed, but we are arguably being suppressed. Intentionally? Well, not in most states. We are still largely at the point where those opportunists who strive to advantage of a crisis are still confused as to how they can take advantage of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
There are problems. Consider how little information is available about the quality of home learning in our local newspapers. The latest is Prince William County schools handing out thousands of devices for remote learning (insidenova.com). We know that Prince William County Schools (PWCS) thinks the laptops are necessary, but is the instruction students are receiving effective? That is difficult to discern, and our local news media has made little effort to find out. Could they? Because students are not be tested (see here (bristowbeat.com)) and the March 25, 2020 Updates here (pwcs.edu)), local news sources would have a problem. Without testing what objective criteria would local newspapers use?
In fairness, relative to the rest of the country and the Commonwealth of Virginia, PWCS was doing fairly well before the pandemic. See the following:
Here is an article, School division: Prince William schools beat state passing rate on SOL tests (princewilliamtimes.com), on how well PWCS did with respect to Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOLs). Whether the SOLs require students to learn what they should learn, however, is debatable. Unfortunately, we have a monopolistic school system. That is, most parents don’t have much choice. Therefore, we are stuck with what the bureaucrats think important.
Should the schools have been shut down? Should the economy have been shut down?Arguably, because we did not have good information at first, the shutdown was unavoidable. Nevertheless, our leaders never advertised social distancing as a means of stopping the spread of the coronavirus. Once we learned that the coronavirus has relatively little effect on children (The virus is just a danger to old people and those with certain preexisting conditions.), we have to wonder why we did not put our children back in school and send most people back to work. Yet, that oddly enough has yet to happen.
At this point no once really knows how badly our economy will be damaged by the shut down. Nevertheless, our county, knowing tax revenues will suffer, is already allocating less money for the schools (see Budget realities from COVID-19 cut $40.6 million from Prince William budgets (insidenova.com)). The state will also most likely have to cut its allocation, and inflation, if nothing else, will also effectively reduce what the Federal Government allocates to our schools.
This leaves me wondering. Do we care about the children or the old? We could have allowed the elderly and the vulnerable to quarantine themselves and assisted them as needed. Instead we shut down everything, and we continued that shutdown for no apparent reason. Social distancing does not stop the spread of the virus; it just slows it. Since the objective was to prevent hospital overcrowding, what was the point of stopping children from going to school and younger people from going to work. Very few of them were going to get sick, much less die.