The weekend is once again upon us, but before I check out for some family time I wanted to share something with you that I just stumbled upon.
All the images I’m including were taken from the Fullerton School District Facebook page. Fulton School District is located just outside Anaheim, California, and I’d encourage you to visit their page and read the captions on these photos, and their plan for reopening. These photos were staged as a way to inform parents of the changes that are being implemented for this upcoming school year. They said, “We are working on a plan to return to school safely based on local and state guidelines. These photos represent some conceptual ideas based on the known guidance.”
Do you remember last month when I wrote about the insane CDC recommended guidelines that essentially would turn schools into prisons? I got several emails in response from folks telling me that I was being a bit of an alarmist and that no school would ever actually implement all of those crazy recommendations. They were, after all, just recommendations, and schools would be free to ignore them to whatever degree they chose.
I believed then, as did many others, that we had already begun to see a pattern developing of people and institutions doing exactly what government agencies advised regardless of their seeming absurdity or whether or not they were even evidence-based.
I know what you might be thinking, “But Connor, c’mon. This is happening in CALIFORNIA. They are always doing crazy, freedom-limiting things out there.” You wouldn’t be wrong. (And I grew up in California…)
Their governor seems to be actively trying to win some type of award for Most Tyrannical Handling of COVID-19—did you see that he just made face masks mandatory for everyone going outside in the entire state? According to this article, “Californians must now wear a face covering when interacting with other members of the public, and while in any indoor public space, as well as when in line to enter such spaces. These include pharmacies, a doctor’s office and the vet’s office. People must also wear a face covering while riding on public transportation, including a bus or a ride-share service, like Lyft or Uber.”
So yeah—I agree that California is over-the-top. But even in my own “conservative” state of Utah, there has been a lot of talk about the “new normal” or, as Utah State Board of Education public information officer, Mark Peterson, calls it, “the now normal.” Utah is talking about desks six feet apart, mandatory social distancing throughout the school day, staggered start times, and a whole bunch of other new “precautions” to “stop the spread.”
What I’m more certain of than ever is that whether they live in crazy California, conservative Utah, or elsewhere, parents are likely to see a restrictive “now normal” if they choose to send their kids back to government schools in the fall. I know that homeschool may not be a viable option for everyone—but I sincerely hope that parents will spend the next couple of months learning as much as they can about alternative education options.
I based The Tuttle Twins and the Education Vacation on John Taylor Gatto’s The Underground History of American Education. It teaches the history and the purposes of the education system that was adopted in the United States and that most compulsory education has been modeled on. Gatto’s work is must-read content for all parents—even (especially) those whose children attend public school. (Take it from a guy who wasn’t homeschooled as a kid.)
For parents who find themselves in the agonizing position of having to choose between sending their kids into some freakish “new/now normal” and some yet undetermined–or even imagined–alternative, I highly recommend Dumbing Us Down, and The Underground History of American Education by Gatto, and of course our Education Vacation as well. 😉
There are a lot of veteran homeschoolers or alternative schoolers out there who have learned a ton about navigating the system. If you’re one of them, consider reaching out to people in your community or area of influence that might need some help or a sympathetic ear. I’m hearing from a lot of parents who are going to be first time homeschoolers this year, and there is a lot of nervousness and anxiety all tangled up in this new direction for a lot of them.
Now more than ever, we need to be welcoming and gentle to each other. These truly are unprecedented times, and a lot of families are making really tough decisions in the next couple of months. I hope we can endeavor to help and educate those who are just now becoming converted to ideas that are familiar and comfortable to some of us.
Whatever route you choose, we’re here to help—our Tuttle Twins books and our free market curriculum are useful (and critical these days!) no matter the education format you choose for the little ones in your life.
Chin up, and let’s keep at it—the world is a bit crazy these days, but these are the times that refine us and reveal our strengths. Let’s help our kids navigate these next few months with confidence as parents! (Even if we have to fake it a little…)