America’s urban schools are massively damaging children by refusing to reopen

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America’s urban schools are massively damaging children by refusing to reopen

Kids in the nation’s big cities have been banned from public-school buildings for nearly a year now — and for many of them, that won’t change any time soon, thanks to two-faced, spineless pols and selfish but powerful teachers’ unions.

In major cities across America, students have been relegated to educationally inferior (and sometimes near-worthless) online “instruction” since March. In New York City, elementary public schools have opened part-time, but middle and high schools have been closed since November with no word on when they’ll return.

On Sunday, The Post reported that Mayor, er, teachers’ union boss Mike Mulgrew says don’t even think about opening more schools soon because the city can’t handle its current COVID testing and tracing requirements. Great. He’s also been saying that reopening hinges on teacher vaccinations, but the city won’t even say how many there’ve been.

Meanwhile, President Biden promised a 100-day plan to reopen schools but is already backpedaling. Ignore pro-Biden-media headlines, like one on CNN’s Web site last week that cheered, “Biden pushes to reopen schools within 100 days”; the article makes clear that, despite several COVID executive orders, Biden’s “measures stop short of requiring schools to reopen within any set time frame.”

Carole Johnson, Biden’s COVID testing coordinator, admits the reopening timeline “may need to be extended.” The new CDC director, Rochelle Walensky, modified Biden’s “100 days” to “100 days or soon thereafter.”

Even keeping the 100-day plan wouldn’t do much good since it means schools would remain closed until May, just when they’re about to end for the summer anyway. But the real concern, as I’ve noted here before, is that schools won’t open for in-person education in September either.

Last week, Success Academy, the city’s largest public charter-school network, announced it would remain remote for the rest of this school year and, due to social-distancing rules likely to stretch into the fall, reopen on a hybrid model in September.

This is disastrous news. Success is admitting what elected officials won’t: There is no amount of money the Biden administration can shower on schools to get them all open full-time in September. The “rules” will ensure that many kids won’t be in class full-time for the foreseeable future. Unlike in cities across the world, the city and state will continue to ignore the fact that kids are at uniquely low risk from COVID-19.

We’re harming kids — and their parents — because of this ludicrous excuse. Parents reach out to me all the time with horror stories.

Brenda, a mom in Brooklyn, tells me her kids are floundering. Her 7-year-old rejects learning apps because they “hurt her eyes and brain.” Brenda’s 11-year-old, previously a “healthy, easygoing, studious kid,” now has “a hard time concentrating.” He used to love math but now doesn’t and is “very, very lonely.” He also now “gets migraines and developed a verbal tic.

It’s a nightmare. Yet only public-school kids in the city are suffering: Private schools are largely open in New York and other cities. And public schools are open full-time just a few miles away in suburban areas like Long Island.

What science says COVID is dangerous for public-school kids in the city but not private-school kids? Nor is there any scientific reason schools can stay open full-time in London, Paris, Berlin but not in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles.

American kids will have a far harder time competing. We’ve also opened up a gulf between kids in different parts of the country. A fifth-grader in Florida is charging full-steam ahead, studying for state tests and getting ready for middle school. A fifth-grader in New York has a schools chancellor who hopes to skip state tests and hints he may decide on all-remote middle schools in September.

And where does much of the blame lie? Hint: A color-coded Burbio school-tracker map shows the extent of in-person learning throughout the country, indicated by shades of purple — dark purple for “traditional” classes; light purple, all remote. Florida and Texas stand out in dark purple, along with Wyoming and Arkansas.

But with few exceptions, most of the East Coast, and the entire West Coast are light purple. These are politically blue-leaning areas where teachers’ unions are strong, local politicians weak and kids an afterthought. In such places, what hope can families have?

Twitter: @Karol

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