Jerome Treadwell, director of the nonprofit MN Teen Activists, led his fellow students from Highland Park High School to strike earlier this week to support a two-week transition to distance learning. Students have problems with COVID, to the point of Treadwell’s fear of dying while trying to get an education.
If it were possible to create a scorecard, it would list students, albeit temporarily, for distance learning, St. Paul County Superintendent Joe Gotthard favoring schooling, and a divided school board that voted 4-3 in favor of the plan Gotthard. at least keep the buildings open for every school.
Not only did Treadwell lead the strike—there were strikes at other schools as well—the students had a list of demands, including that the school district do more to educate students about the importance of vaccinations and the proper wearing of masks at school. That’s when Treadwell said, “We don’t want to die trying to get an education.” This is certainly a terrible assumption, if not highly implausible. Not to mention, if you keep walking or opt for distance learning, you won’t get much education right from the start.
Other demands include increased adult supervision, more stable bus service and a metric for temporary school closures due to staff shortages, and improved quality of distance learning. If 25 percent of teachers at a given school are expected to be absent for an extended period of time, that school may temporarily transition to online teaching.
Gotthard, with a positive council vote, wants to keep the schools open, which is the current plan, and also, apparently, juggle various student demands. Gotthard, to his credit, considers virtual learning to be of poor quality. He doesn’t want it. He wants the children to go to school. Good for him, but who runs this show, super, board, students?
It gets even more confusing, which was to come after years of the chain of command losing control of the troops commonly referred to as the inmates running the asylum. The problem is, we don’t even know who the prisoners are. Maybe children. Maybe a teachers union.
In any case, or in all cases, schools will be open, even if teaching is done online. State law prohibits forcing children to participate in online learning. Schools must be open and they must provide transportation and food. The children who will appear may be lucky and they will actually find a teacher. Who knows?
It seems disingenuous that students are demanding more information about the importance of vaccinations and proper wearing of face masks. Much to the dismay of this struggling nation, that’s all we’ve been talking about for two years. Two years already! How much more information do you need?
By all accounts, Treadwell Sr. is a versatile student who excels in academics, music and sports. A young guy with his abilities can certainly come up with something less provocative than the fear of dying trying to get an education. Even Ferris Bueller didn’t come up with that.
COVID has taken a terrible toll, but thankfully there have been no reports of a child falling behind a desk during class.