By Pastor Rasheed Z Baaith
“If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will be wicked, (Proverbs 29:12)
Globally, the American education system and our students are not the best. The countries of Finland, Iceland, Denmark and the Netherlands all rank ahead of America in education.
Canada is reputed to be number one in total education for population; China’s education is considered the most difficult for its students, and is ranked number one in math, and Singapore is supposed to have the smartest students with over 71% receiving advanced scores.
What all these statistics mean is that American students seem to have a lot of catching up to do. But these are not the reasons President Trump is demanding all schools in the country reopen this fall. His concern is not academic achievement by students; his concern is totally about moving the economy into a productive state of being.
As someone who believes deeply in education as a means to transform lives, move one’s future from being limited to one being extended, I want our children back in school as soon as possible. But only if it can be done safely. And not just safely for the children but for the teachers, administrators, maintenance workers, cafeteria workers and our school resource officers.
The sadness of Trump loudly demanding that schools open is that neither he nor those in his administration have a real plan. He decided that CDC guidelines for reopening the schools were too demanding and too expensive. I’ve read those guidelines and they are neither.
It is as if he wants no guidelines for safety, no rules for personal behaviors and no attempts to keep this killer virus from reaching more and more people. He is saying to us that he is prepared to sacrifice our lives, the lives of our children and the future of the country for a political posture. This new policy by Trump is a raison d’état. This is something that is purely political in intent and has no connection with openness, justice or honesty.
This is all about money. Trump’s concern is that with schools closed, parents cannot work. This is all too true for so many in our community, especially those called “frontline workers or essential workers.” Those working in hospitals, nursing homes, supermarkets, police, fire departments and schools.
And if that be true and it is, then the government is required to make working conditions for these workers as safe as humanly possible. No matter the cost or demanding the items are or cumbersome the process of putting things in place will be
Let’s discuss one more thing. While it is true that children and teens do not have the same potential for infection as older people, we know they can be infected and be asymptomatic. We know too that many of the adults employed in the school system have under lying health conditions that can increase the mortality factor if those folk become infected by Covid.
The question demanding an answer is do we want our schools to be incubators of learning or incubators of this virulent disease in this country?