Parents, Use Your Voice to Speak Out for Your Children!
Yesterday parents in western Pennsylvania began the stressful planning for the shuttering of their schools, adding to the ranks of parents across the state at wits’ end with the need to parent, teach, and work with little respite or relief.
At the same time, the intransigence of the U.S. Senate and the gamesmanship by the White House show no sign of abating.
Throughout the COVID crisis we’ve been subjected to the selfish rants of adults who think wearing a mask denies their freedom. We’ve watched religious institutions self-righteously claim that the separation of church and state protects their ability to hold mass convocations. And we’ve witnessed thousands gather cheek by jowl for motorcycle and political rallies.
All of this is happening as hundreds of thousands of children are entering their fourth month of a failed experiment called on-line instruction. Teachers are trying, but their best efforts are stymied by homes with old computers, old wiring, no wireless or limited bandwidth, or all of the above. Add to that the challenge of attempting to help a child with special needs learn remotely or reach a child who has limited English skills. Teachers are teachers, not magicians.
Tens of thousands of children who should be thriving in Pre-K programs are sitting in front of screens perched on kitchen tables or in their laps. Their Pre-K teachers could stand on their heads and try to teach them the ABCs, but we all know it’s a losing proposition. The critical adult attachment and play that makes early learning possible simply cannot happen via a computer monitor.
There are fortunate children who have an adult at home who cajoles them to focus or reprimands them when they don’t. But thousands of our children are being watched by a sibling not much older than them or—worse yet—home alone.
What we have yet to see is the coalescing of parents demanding that the government do much more to ensure that our children are learning, that they are safe, and that their basic needs are met. It’s time for that to happen.
Next Friday, four days before this historic election, you can show our elected leaders and candidates that it’s time for them to deliver for parents and for our kids. Put it on your schedule today to be at the virtual Parents Demand Action rally on Thursday, October 29th at 4:00 pm.
We are not calling for schools to reopen before it’s safe. We are demanding that Washington stop the dickering and put the funds on the table so that the schools that educate the lowest income and working class kids of our state can deploy all that is needed to guarantee that every child is learning.
We need the federal government to fund creative solutions that enable neighbors and others to reliably watch over our children while their parents are working.
And we demand funds for our communities to give our children, virtually or safely in-person, the character- and creativity-building experiences that were once afterschool sports and clubs.
No matter who wins this election, every American agrees that the current conditions for our children are bordering on national negligence. Unlike so many other ill-advised public gatherings, you don’t need to risk your health or your life to be part of something big and meaningful. But you do need to participate for big change to happen. Join the virtual Parents Demand Action rally next Thursday.