Virtually Intimate Education

May 18, 2020 by

Words are like Ubers that can be hired to take you anywhere you want to go.  A People’s Democratic Republic is not necessarily democratic by virtue of its name. Neither are self-proclaimed school “reformers” believers in rehabilitating our core mission and improving the model of tradition schools. 

Instead, they tend to be hard-line ideologues who are pushing an agenda of privatization and anti-unionism.

The pandemic has given these “reformers” a shot in the arm.  A pretext for existence. A convenient cover for their true motives.

This was enabled by the replacement of  the classroom human-to-human bond with the virtual online classroom.  The “reformers” have long glorified homeschooling as a way of avoiding the egalitarian values that are promoted in public schools.  To them, public schools are just another way that government intrusion threatens individual freedom.

A taste for homeschooling is not limited to the lunatic fringe, although they are the movement’s patron saints.  Homeschooling is now on the “radar screen” as never before.  It’s the only game of education deceit in town.

New York Post columnist Miranda Devine notes (5/14) some unexpected results:

One mother claims her kids are “better-behaved, kinder to one another and more independent” in effect because her kids are no longer in the physical presence of live teachers. Another source claims that 

virtual learning is preferable for “shy kids, hyperactive kids, highly creative kids.”

“It’s been really eye-opening”. I don’t want to go back to the way things were”, says a parent who attributes her children being  “better behaved, kinder to one another and more independent” to cyberspace becoming the new classroom.

W. Bradford Wilcox of the Institute for Family Studies” predicts that divorce rates will fall,  presumably due to parents becoming more hands-on with their kids’ struggles to master Google platforms. 

Devine implies that the abrupt truncation of the nation’s school year is no big deal and that in fact it is a gain because “a lot of children have thrived, so much so that teachers now want to learn from the experience”.

She sees the lockdown, which resulted in mass educational deprivation, as a fortification of the “nuclear family” that reveals “the real agenda of the left-wing educators to push parents aside and impose their own values on our children”.

So the pandemic is a catalyst for free thought and freedom from government tyranny?  Who knew?

There’s no idea too dim that it is automatically disqualified from public discourse. Anything goes. Some notions are unworthy of being dignified by repudiation.

Is it really necessary, or even possible to compare and contrast the advantages of learning from a hands-on teacher and maturing socially and emotionally with peers in real time to being fettered to an online device in one’s basement?

Does anyone in their “heart of hearts” ( assuming they have one) really believe that New York City students are getting a better education at home than in schools? 

The ineffable intimacy of the teacher-student relationship cannot be achieved remotely. It cannot be replicated virtually. Spirit cannot be Skyped.

Those who believe otherwise were succinctly corrected by a blogger: “Distance learning is a crock”.

The experience of life itself is the universal classroom of all generations and the teacher of endless unfathomable lessons. But life to be lived cannot be experienced by conduit of cyberspace.

Neither can a child’s education.

Ron Isaac

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