As New York City schools grapple with how to handle a virus that has an under 1 percent infection rate in children, parenting boards frequented by the educated, monied-but-not-so-monied-as-to-send-their-kids-to-private-school set, are forming ‘pods’. A ‘pod’ will be a small group of children, usually no more than five, who will meet at each other’s homes in lieu of traditional schooling in September. You, and four other families in your same tax bracket, will hire a teacher to educate the five children in the pod. Parenting boards are overwhelmed with requests for these tutors. The families will agree to only interact with each other: an absurd and impossible promise that will surely be broken.
We’re in a time where there is a ‘right’ opinion on everything, and every other opinion is stupid and likely racist. The right opinion right now is that it would be just crazy to open schools in New York City in the fall. This is despite the fact that every other country is opening schools and New York’s governor is on a prolonged victory tour on late night television for his celebrated handling of the COVID crisis…which resulted in the death of 32,000 New Yorkers.
If you’re a parent who is pushing to open schools, well, you don’t care about the lives of teachers. Those sending their kids to private schools which plan to open must love their kids less than the podders. Pods have become the only acceptable way to educate your children this fall.
The idea that moving a group of children from house to house, and bringing in a commuting educator who is theoretically isolating herself from others in the name of teaching the group, is somehow seen as safer than just sending the kids to a traditional classroom, is a testament to how much science and reason have ceased to matter. It’s the latest in our COVID security theater which now includes having a temperature check when entering certain restaurants or buildings, despite the fact that someone can be COVID-positive and asymptomatic, or y’know, take Tylenol.
It would be one thing if parents revolted and asked for $25,199, the amount spent per student in New York City’s largely failing school system, to be returned to them to educate their kids as they wish. But school choice is stupid, and racist, and only those terrible Republicans want that. These parents are doing something very different than icky school choice. They’re choosing, you see, to keep their white, rich kids safe and educated when their local schools won’t do it. As for the people who don’t have the money to hire a tutor, and need to be at their own jobs while their kids are either on some wacky part-time school schedule or fully remote, that’s their problem.
The one-two punch of pods, while not demanding the money be returned, will go so far to keep down poor kids across the city. It’s almost as though that is the intention. Anyone sane still left in this city must demand funding be returned to parents to use how they see fit for their child’s education. Don’t let the rich podders get to ignore the choices they are making that will further exacerbate inequality in education. Make them face it.