School brings in cops to teach during COVID-19 staffing shortage

Imagine what kind of fuss the cops would make if the situation was reversed and the city decided to let teachers drive around patrolling the city in their squad cars.

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I think that isn’t an accurate analogy. I don’t think anyone is realistically expecting non certified subs to actually teach. They are more or less being asked to baby sit.

It isn’t an optimal solution. The problem is the pressure to keep kids in schools in many locations is too great. Parents not working from home especially would struggle and either have to take time off, or find an already full day care, or friend/family member to watch them.

Though in some of the cases, they should be shutting it down. But if they aren’t going to do that, then what are your options?

I am not saying cops are particularly well suited for watching over a classroom, only that they would be about the same as having a random parent watch a class for a day. I am looking at this pragmatically. What other solution do you propose other than cancelling classes?

You want Police Academy 4? Because that’s how you get Police Academy 4!

(Without the rollicking good times I’m sure)

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I loved Police Academy 4! I had that poster on my wall I won in a school carnival.

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Armed and unmasked. Therefore posing multiple dangers to the students. But OK, I guess?

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Again, I think “we must keep the schools running whether or not there are people qualified to be in classrooms“ shows a fundamental disrespect for the work that teachers are trained to do.

If there was a critical shortage of truck drivers we wouldn’t say “it is better to let untrained, unlicensed cops drive big rigs than to let goods go undelivered.“ If there was a critical shortage of doctors we wouldn’t say “it is better to put untrained cops in hospitals than to let medical problems go untreated.”

If this community really cared about education they would start by enforcing a mask mandate in the schools they want to keep open. The fact that unmasked police officers are in the classrooms rendered teacherless due to the pandemic is unconscionable.

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One of the things this pandemic has exposed is that right-wing and Third Way politicians see teachers as little more than babysitters who are there to watch the kids while their parents dutifully show up at work. Education is almost beside the point for these types, although they’ll grudgingly settle for applying tax dollars to job training that benefits their capitalist overlords.

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Oh dear.

“State employees”:

A thought experiment:

You are the school district superintendent in a district with severe staffing shortages. You have told by your state governor that for every X number of days of virtual classroom teaching, some Y number of in-person student attendance will be required in the summer to “make up for” learning shortfalls stemming from the online instruction period. (X and Y vary from state to state, apparently.)

Whatever budget your district has had contingency-supplemented by federal/state/other monies, you know that summer in-person course instruction will cost serious money, which the budget is unlikely to cover, since the budget was set the fiscal year previous.

Your school district is paid (likely out of property taxes held by your county) per student, per day, only for days when student attendance is in-person, on school property. Your district is therefore being starved of money it relied on to pay staff, utilities, resources like books and computers and musical instruments, building maintenance and repairs, etc.

Your students are probably underperforming on state-mandated tests, and if you have some trigger-number of bad test scores, your district may be taken from your management and put in the hands of people whose only job is get those test scores up. Your students’ parents are variously unhappy with the whole situation, and represent an average cross-section of Americans who are vehemently anti-vax, vehemently pro-vax, financially strapped, overworked, having to take care of family who may be sick–there’s a lot of this even before the pandemic, because the U.S. healthcare “system” and U.S. workplace paid sick leave are shit even when you do have health insurance.

Your state has expressly banned a mandatory mask mandate. Your state is one of the states in the U.S. where current winter weather has made outdoor instruction impossible. You do not anticipate resolving classroom problems caused by the pandemic anytime soon.

Your governor makes an offer to you to solve several of your problems at once: using already-vetted state employees who have already had criminal background checks, urine tests for drugs, have a known work history, etc.

What do you do next?

ETA: additional qualifiers, typos

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That sentiment applies to pretty much everyone classified as “essential workers.” “You can’t protect yourself and your family, you need to serve me!”

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Or rather less than babysitters if you use the hourly pay rate as an indicator.

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That’s clearly the kind of math teacher the politicians wish the district hadn’t hired.

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You left out “expressly forbidden to institute remote learning protocols.”

Gov’s remote learning ban sparks concern - The Bay State Banner

State Board of Education moves to prevent schools from remote classes amid COVID crunch | New Hampshire Public Radio (nhpr.org)

Forbidding Remote Learning: Why Some Schools Won’t Offer a Virtual Option This Fall (edweek.org)

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Well, fuck.

And thanks for pointing that out. Cutting off yet another sensible option seems to be the 21st century on-brand for institution management.

It’s a dang miracle U.S.ians have managed to get any K-12 student education in at all. And here we are, starting Year 3 of the pandemic.

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I agree your point that teachers are overall disrespected, because I have seen it following my teacher friends who are at odds with both school boards and school administration. They are also underpaid and many school districts woefully underfunded. That was all here before Covid and needs to be addressed at some point.

I don’t think this move means they care about education. I already said this wasn’t about education, it is about keeping the schools open. If they aren’t certified teachers or subs, then they aren’t serving the actual role of a teacher. They aren’t equipped to.

Like it or not, it affects everyone else because of most people don’t have easy options if their kids aren’t in school. If the kids are home, they have to scramble to find someone to watch them or take off work. Which means people aren’t showing up to do the work that others rely on through out the day. Many people do not have any other options here.

We don’t have the increased unemployment. There will be no more Covid support checks. Hell the daycare industry was struggling before Covid and is in tatters from the disruptions of Covid. This is why there is the push to keep schools open. Biden just bragged about something like 95% of schools being open.

Completely agree teachers (cops or otherwise) and students should be masked, even if vaccinated. It is ridiculous school boards aren’t all implementing mask wearing.

Again, I am looking at this from a pragmatic solution. I can agree it is fucked up, but I will ask again what is the solution? Shutting school down? I agree that is the best for preventing the spread. In some cases that is happening, but there is pressure from multiple fronts to not do that if possible due to the reasons above.

And if it is determined to try to keep them open, then again, what other options do they have?

There is no pragmatic solution because they won’t do any of the pragmatic solutions—they brag about explicitly banning them.

Teachers I know were talking about how far kids fell behind academically (and how poor they behave) since Covid. I’m confident the long term sacrifices in education are worse than short term economic impacts. I’m also confident the economic impacts are much worse because of the focus on status quo.

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Basically they made a conscious decision to not implement any of the reasonable solutions (remote teaching, masks, vaccine mandates, paying subs enough money that there wouldn’t be a shortage of qualified applicants) and then went straight to “well we had to lower the qualifications for subs, what other choice do we have?”

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The fuck there isn’t.

If my school district ever tried a stunt like this, I’d pull my kid out of school so fast, their fucking heads would spin right off.

IDK about OK, but CA schools’ funding is tied to attendance.

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Seems apt to me. What if a major city decided enough was enough and disbanded their police force during the summer, and could only get about 20% temporary replacement through county and state resources while they trained up replacements? Teachers would be available to fill in the gaps and just drive around in patrol cars.

Heck, that would probably more effective at the job than cops in classrooms.

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You use remote learning for as long as you can until you run out of budget and reserves, then shut down. Because ultimately, a short school year is still better than dead kids and dead teachers.

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Yeah. It’s just a hunch, but I feel like trained educators would be better at “protecting and serving” the community than cops would be at educating young minds about things like…well, anything other than being kind of an asshole bully.

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